CEIR Index Q3 Numbers Indicate Continued Slowdown of Overall Trade Show Industry Growth

November 20, 2013

Despite 13 straight quarters of trade show industry growth, as tracked by the Center for Exhibition Industry Research, the third quarter showed slowing growth of 0.2 percent, compared with 0.9 percent in the same quarter last year.

Three metrics showed decline, also compared with the same quarter last year – net square feet, exhibitors and attendees – with real revenues the only increase in the third quarter since the same period in 2012.

The results also showed continued slowing growth in contrast to the overall economy, which saw the GDP gaining 1.6 percent year-on-year in the third quarter.

"The paltry growth was due mainly to a 2.1-pecent year-over-year decline in attendees, which in part is attributable to the budget impasse,” said CEIR's economist Allen Shaw, Ph.D., chief economist for Global Economic Consulting Associates.

He added, “Poor attendance appeared in many industries, especially the Government (GV) and Education (ED) sectors.”

The government shutdown that occurred Oct. 1-16 impacted more than 800,000 federal employees who were furloughed during this time, some of whom were planning to attend events that were cancelled, postponed or held with lower attendance.

Though attendance declined in the third quarter, there was slight growth in the other three metrics, compared with the second quarter.

Net square feet increased 0.6 percent, exhibitors rose 0.2 percent and real revenues gained 2.2 percent.

CEIR had predicted the present slowdown in growth through 2013, with it gaining speed again into 2014.

There still were some bright spots in the third quarter, including PMMI’s biennial PACK EXPO Las Vegas that took place in September at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

The show spanned more than 740,000 square feet and attracted 1,700-plus exhibitors and 28,000 attendees. The previous PACK EXPO Las Vegas came in at 700,000 sq. ft., 1,600 exhibitors and 26,000 attendees.

Messe Frankfurt’s Texworld USA also saw exhibit space growth in July at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center of New York.

In addition, woodworking saw a boost in showfloor numbers at the 2013 AWFS (Association of Woodworking & Furnishing Suppliers) Fair when it was held July 24-27 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

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