UFI Year-end Report Indicates Slowdown in Asia-Pacific Region; Higher Turnover in Americas for 2013

January 9, 2013

Most of the worldwide exhibition growth for the past few years has been focused on the Asia-Pacific region, where GDPs in countries such as China have gone gangbusters, but, according to UFI, The Global Association of the Exhibition Industry’s year-end 10th Global Barometer Survey, that growth now seems to be shifting to the Americas going into 2013.

“While Asia-Pacific has been the main growth area since 2010, the situation there is shifting with slower growth expected in 2013,” said UFI Managing Director Paul Woodward.

He added, “Current projections indicate that the highest exhibition industry growth should be achieved in the Americas during the next 12 months. As a whole, the industry remains remarkably dynamic, proving that the exhibition media qualifies as one of the top marketing tools for companies aiming to develop their business.”

Survey results also showed the Americas currently are the only region to declare that the impact of the “economic crisis” on their exhibition business is now behind them, according to UFI officials.

Of those surveyed, 77 percent of respondents in the United States said they expected an increase of their turnover in 2013, compared with 45 percent in 2012.

In the Asia-Pacific region, however, there was less optimism, with the region for 2013 anticipating a slowdown in growth levels to the same level as Europe and the Middle East/Africa regions, where 60 percent of companies experience turnover increases.

A large proportion of companies indicated their businesses had stabilized in 2012.

The most significant difference between regions appears to be in the proportion of companies showing decreases of more than 10 percent (or even losses) for 2012.

This is the case for an average of 1 company out of 10 in both the Americas and Asia/Pacific (5 percent in China and 9 percent in the U.S.), but this increases to almost 20 percent in the Middle East and Africa and more than 20 percent in Europe.

Survey respondents also were asked to identify the most important issues for them, with the following results:

-          state of the national/regional economy – 25 percent

-          global economic uncertainty – 21 percent

-          local/national competition from the exhibition industry – 17 percent

-          internal management challenges – 17 percent

Companies also were asked if they could share their current priorities in terms of strategy in two specific areas: their range of activities and their geographical exposure.

In all regions, a large majority of companies indicated they intend to develop new activities, in either the classic range of exhibition industry activities (venue/organizer/services), in other live events or virtual events, or in both.

In the Asia/Pacific, on the other hand, most companies indicated they are not planning any developments of this kind.

The strongest proportion of companies planning such developments is to be found in the Americas (almost 9 companies out of 10, including more than 6 in the area of live or virtual events).

In terms of geographical expansion, 54 percent of respondents indicated they intended to develop operations in new countries.

Based on replies received, Asia/Pacific was the only region where a majority of companies do not plan any such developments.

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