U.S. Trade Show Industry Growth Jumps 2.9 Percent in Second Quarter

August 31, 2017
Lightfair International

After a slow start to the year, the second quarter of 2017 in the U.S. trade show industry jumped into high gear, posting 2.9-percent overall growth, compared with the same quarter last year, according to the Center for Exhibition Industry’s latest Index Report.

Also, in the first time since the fourth quarter of 2016, the trade show industry out-performed the macroeconomy, with real GDP growing 2.2 percent year over year.

"The increase in the second quarter validates our prediction that economic fundamentals continue pointing to moderate growth for the exhibition industry," said CEIR Economist Allen Shaw, Ph.D., chief economist for Global Economic Consulting Associates, Inc.

Building, Construction, Home and Repair; Government; Communications and Information Technology; and Discretionary Consumer Goods and Services all registered robust year-over-year gains.

In contrast, Raw Materials and Science and Business Services posted year-over-year declines. Raw Materials and Science failed to build on the modest gain during the first quarter as oil prices faltered.

All exhibition metrics in the second quarter posted positive year-over-year gains, with revenues and attendance seeing the biggest increases.

Real revenues (nominal revenues adjusted for inflation) posted the largest increase of 4.0 percent, followed by attendees, which rose 3.8 percent, whereas net square feet and exhibitors gained 2.1 percent and 1.8 percent, respectively.

Just one of the shows in the second quarter that saw big numbers was Lightfair International, held in May in Philadelphia.

The world’s largest annual architectural and commercial lighting trade show and conference registered 27,939 attendees from 81 countries spanning 277,600 net square feet of expo space, with registration exceeding its 2016 event and increasing 7.4 percent, compared with its 2013 Philadelphia show.

“I look forward to the conversations taking place at the CEIR Predict Conference on 14-15 September and hearing from both CEIR’s economist and other economic experts on their predictions for the remaining months of 2017," said CEIR CEO Cathy Breden, CMP, CAE.

She added, “There is a lot going on with a major hurricane in the oil refining stronghold of Houston and trade agreement negotiations.”

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