CEIR Index: Q4 2013 Indicates Big Trade Show Industry Uptick

February 23, 2014

The overall health of the trade show industry received a huge boost in the fourth quarter, according to the Center for Exhibition Industry Research’s Index.

The fourth quarter of last year ended on a high note, with an uptick of 3 percent, compared with the much smaller .04 percent growth in the third quarter of 2013 and 0.7 percent growth recorded in the fourth quarter of 2012.

Q4 2013 also marks the 14th straight quarter of increases in the trade show industry. In more good news, the latest results also outperformed GDP, which saw 2.7 percent growth in the same quarter.

"With the fourth quarter's results and 14 consecutive quarters of growth, and our predictions closely matching outcomes, we are confident in the continued growth and progress of the industry,” said CEIR's economist Allen Shaw, Ph.D., chief economist for Global Economic Consulting Associates, Inc.

He added, “The exhibition industry has survived and emerged from the Great Recession, and we are confident that the upswing will continue.”

The year ended at 1 percent overall growth, just about in line with economist’s predictions of 1.1 percent growth.

Leading the increases in Q4 last year was Professional Attendance, which jumped 5.8 percent year-on-year, the biggest gain since the third quarter of 2007.

FABTECH, which was held in November at Chicago’s McCormick Place, was just one show that saw a big attendance jump in that quarter to 40,667, an 11-percent increase.

Exhibitors and Real Revenues rose 3.0 percent and 3.6 percent, respectively. Net Square Feet was the only metric that suffered a year-on-year decline, dropping by 0.5 percent.

The CEIR Index also tracks across 14 industry sectors, including transportation; sporting goods, travel and entertainment; and communications and information technology, to name a few.

"Performance varied by industry, and the top performing sector was Industrial/Heavy Machinery and Finished Business Inputs (ID) where the index increased by 6.9 percent. In contrast, the weakest sector was Government (GV), where the index declined,” said CEIR President and CEO Brian Casey.

He added, “This was not surprising, since the industry was negatively affected by government budget cuts impacting trade shows."

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