Latest UFI Global Exhibition Barometer Addresses Growth, Entertainment Factor of Trade Shows

February 14, 2019

The UFI Global Exhibition Barometer, issued semi-annually by UFI, the Global Association for the Exhibition Industry, is an important gauge of global trade show health. The latest report, which came out Feb. 5, revealed a positive look at 2019.

Between mid-2018 and the end of 2019, the data shows a majority of companies from all four global regions indicate gross turnover increases. This positive outlook is especially strong in the Asia/Pacific and Middle East/Africa regions, which each recorded their highest levels in the last five years. A growing number of companies are also trying to expand into new geographical markets around the globe.

Regions in the Americas and Europe recorded very high increases in gross turnover in recent years, yet fewer companies are expecting growth to remain as strong as it has been. As such, economic concerns remain the top item keeping industry leaders up at night, followed by intense competition, internal challenges and digitization.

"The data shows that the exhibition industry is set to continue to grow globally as a whole, but foresees obstacles in various markets and regions,” said UFI Managing Director and CEO Kai Hattendorf.

He continued, “Ever more companies are focused on expanding their geographical footprint, to counter potential risks in the economic development in their respective home markets — most notably companies based in mature markets.”

On another note, many companies are getting more creative with the on-site experience, planning new activities either in the classic range of exhibition industry activities (vendor, organizer and services) or outside the current product portfolios — or both.

This is an area that will continue to evolve, as show organizers and show visitors alike recognize a need to develop the entertainment component of exhibition, as the recent Global Visitors Insights by UFI and Explori reported. Yet views on how to make this happen differ, and will depend on the audience.

“There is no single formula on how to evolve exhibitions to respond to growing visitor demands of more entertainment or experience-driven events,” said Hattendorf. “The 19 detailed market profiles covered in this edition of the barometer show clearly differentiated approaches to this from around the world.”

The latest UFI survey was concluded in January and includes data from 302 companies in 53 countries. It delivers analysis for markets including Australia, Brazil, China, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan (for the first time), Italy, Macau, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, Thailand, the UK and the U.S.


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