Trade Show Industry Bucks Sluggish Overall Economy, Surges 2.6 Percent in Q1 2016

June 6, 2016

Driven by strong industry sectors including building, construction, food and transportation, as well as overall growth in trade show industry revenues, the Center for Exhibition Industry Research Index report indicated that the industry continued its growth streak in Q1 this year, with a 2.6-percent increase, compared with the same quarter last year.

The results were positive, despite a sluggish macroeconomy, and marked the 23rd consecutive quarter of year-on-year growth.

“The exhibition industry is off to a good start in 2016,” said CEIR Economist Allen Shaw, Ph.D., Chief Economist for Global Economic Consulting Associates, Inc. “As the economy rebounds from the weak first quarter, the exhibition industry will gain further ground.”

During the three years through 2014, the exhibition industry growth generally lagged the pace of GDP, but the industry has now outperformed the macroeconomy for five quarters straight.

The strong year-on-year growth in the Building, Construction, Home and Repair, Communications and Information Technology, Food, Government and Transportation sectors more than offset the weakness in the Industrial/Heavy Machinery and Finished Business Inputs and Raw Materials and Science sectors.

Just a few of the show that performed well in the first quarter were Natural Products Expo West, which had record attendance in Anaheim; NY NOW, which grew its attendance in New York City; and World of Concrete also grew in Las Vegas.

All four exhibition metrics in the fourth quarter posted year-on-year gains. As was the case during 2015, the strongest metric was Real Revenues (nominal revenues adjusted for inflation), which rose an impressive 5.4 percent, followed by Net Square Feet with an increase of 3.0 percent.  Exhibitors increased 1.9 percent, whereas Attendees only slightly, with 0.1 percent.

“The exhibition industry continues to show steady and consistent performance,” said CEIR President and CEO Brian Casey, CEM.

He added, “We are looking forward to delving into how these figures fit into the overall economy and how industry executives can use these results in their strategic planning during the upcoming CEIR Predict conference.”

Predict: CEIR’s Annual Outlook Conference will be held Sept. 14-15 at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C.

The event provides an outlook on the global economy and the exhibition industry’s performance. Visit for more details.

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