UFI's Global Barometer Survey Indicates Tougher Times Ahead

January 18, 2012

UFI, the Global Association for the Exhibition Industry’s latest crisis barometer report indicates that companies worldwide are pulling back their expectations of growth based on a still fragile worldwide economic situation, according to survey results.

When the economic crisis started to take hold in 2008, UFI began compiling a series of Global Exhibition Barometer Survey to track the impact on shows in different regions.

The 8th edition of this series of reports showed that, compared with previous results in 2010 and 2011, in the Americas and Asia/Pacific region, seven to eight companies out of 10 showed a return of growth in gross turnover, while going into 2012, that number drops slightly below seven for companies in the Americas expecting the same growth and less than eight companies in the Asia/Pacific region.

Companies in Europe initially indicated strong growth with most companies reporting positive gains in 2011, but that tide has changed based on the recent UFI report, showing only 50 percent still growing.

On the other hand, the Middle East/Africa region continues to be mainly unaffected, with a majority of companies declaring an increase in their turnover during all periods, except the beginning of 2009.

The 8th barometer survey also questioned the evolution of operating profits for 2011, when compared with the previous two years.

The survey results indicated that fewer than 50 percent of companies anticipate an increase of more than 10 percent in annual profit in 2011 in all regions, except in Asia/Pacific, where there already is a majority of companies declaring an increase.

Few companies declare decreases of more than 10 percent in operating profit for 2010 or 2011.

Companies also are less sure overall on how long the economic crisis will continue to impact their companies.

For the first time, the survey indicated a majority of respondents from all regions consider that their business is affected by the economic crisis. The most pronounced change was the decrease of confidence in the Asia/Pacific region, where the level of positive answers drops from 65 percent to 27 percent.

Another significant change from previous survey results indicates that, even though most companies previously said they thought the economic crisis would be over by the end of 2012, 63 percent of those surveyed, now, almost 50 percent believe it will end in 2013.

“In trying times, our face-to-face media identifies new marketing opportunities to provide to our exhibitors and exhibition visitors,” said Paul Woodward, UFI managing director.

He added, “We may even, in 10 years’ time, look back on this era as one of positive developments.”

The 8th barometer survey, conducted in December 2011, was answered by 172 companies from 49 countries.

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