UFI’s Global Exhibition Industry Survey Points to Cautious Optimism for 2015

January 8, 2015

The good news is that of companies polled for UFI, The Global Association of the Exhibition Industry’s 14th Global Barometer Survey, the majority of them have seen positive turnover since 2011. However, 41 percent of those surveyed didn’t think the worldwide economic crisis was over as of yet.

In addition, while there were profits in 2014, less than one company out of two saw annual profits rise more than 10 percent.

“In a globally fragile economic environment, the exhibition industry continues to demonstrate a fairly good performance, except in some countries with specific current issues,” said Paul Woodward, UFI’s managing director.

In the Americas, six companies out of 10 for 2014 and eight for 2015 posting increases, with the U.S. leading the way and Central and South America seeing significant drops the second half of 2014.

The Asia/Pacific region saw 70 percent of the companies declaring increases, even though China anticipates a slowdown in 2015, with a decrease from 88 percent for 2014 to 70 percent for 2015.

Europe, which has seen its challenges, is on the positive side, with 60 percent of the companies posting increases. Two countries may face headwinds in 2015 - from 86 percent in 2014 to 71 percent in 2015 in Turkey and from 43 percent to 11 percent in Russia.

An average eight companies out of 10 for 2014 and nine for 2015 had increases in the Middle East and Africa, where South Africa outperforms is a high performer.

As far as how companies view the economic crisis, the U.S. was the most positive, with 69 percent of the companied surveyed declaring it was over. Not surprisingly, though, with the sanctions and drop in oil prices, only 13 percent of Russian companies thought the crisis was over.

Companies also were asked to rank the three top issues they faced out of a possible list of seven and the top issue chosen by 27 percent was “State of the National/Regional Economy”, followed by 18 percent, who said “Local/National competition from the exhibition industry” was a concern.

Most companies are planning new business developments, with 76 percent planning new activities in either the classic range of exhibition activities (venue/organizer/services) or in live or virtual events (or both) and 51 percent plan to expand exhibition operations to new countries.

The 14th Global Barometer survey, conducted in December 2014, was answered by 203 companies from 55 countries.

 “UFI encourages all surveyed companies to keep providing their input in order to maintain this important tool for the industry and its stakeholders,” Woodward said.

Full results of the 14th Global Barometer Survey can be freely downloaded at www.ufi.org/research. The next UFI Global Barometer Survey will be conducted in June 2015.

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