Exhibition industry growth still seen despite sluggish economy, says CEIR report

The Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) released the CEIR Index Report, an Analysis of the 2012 Exhibition Industry and Future Outlook today at the SISO CEO Summit. Overall the industry showed growth of 1.5 percent but unfortunately fell short of its optimistic forecast for the year. The outlook for growth in 2013 is not substantial, however, significant pick-up is expected for 2014 and 2015 with positive and accelerated growth over the long term.

CEIR Chairman of the Board, Greg Ortale, President & CEO of the Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau, said, “There is no question that the economy hit the exhibition industry hard, and the CEIR Index accurately identifies the specific impact on the 14 sectors. We have recognized this, and we know that there are economic cycles, and while some are longer than others, over time we will recover and so will the convention and exhibition market.”

Each metric measured by the Index saw positive growth in 2012. Net Square Feet (NSF) grew 1.2%, the number of Exhibitors increased 0.5%, the number of Attendees increased 2.5%, and Real Revenues grew 1.6%.

CEIR Economist Allen Shaw, Ph.D., Chief Economist for Global Economic Consulting Associates, Inc. said, “2012 was an interesting year. Despite the fear of the so-called “fiscal cliff” intensified over the year, seven sectors outperformed or were on target with our predictions whereas seven other sectors underperformed. We are pleased that there was growth overall and the coming year should see continued recovery in most sectors covered by the Index, in line with a moderate expansion of the macro economy.”

In addition to the Overall, 11 sectors showed growth in 2012. Financial, Legal and Real Estate (FN) and Transportation (TX) showed the most growth exceeding expectations with 7.4% and 6.7% respectively. Additionally, Communications and Information Technology (IT) (4.2%), Food (FD) (3.5%), Discretionary Consumer Services (CS) (2.8%), Sporting Goods, Travel and Amusement (ST) (2.5%) and Consumer Goods and Retail Trade (CG) (2.5%) showed stronger than anticipated growth. In contrast, Education (ED) (-3.9%), Government (GV) (-2.4%), Building, Construction, Home and Repair (HM) (-1.1%) and Medical and Health Care (MD) (0.1%) experienced negative or negligible growth. On a positive note, even though HM has shown negative growth each year since 2008, the 2012 decline was the smallest since the beginning of the collapse of the housing industry.

As an objective measure of the annual performance of the exhibition industry, the CEIR Index measures year-over-year changes in four key metrics to determine overall performance: Net Square Feet of Exhibit Space Sold; Professional Attendance; Number of Exhibiting Companies; and Gross Revenue. The CEIR Index provides exhibition industry performance across 14 key industry sectors: Business Services; Consumer Goods; Discretionary Consumer Services; Education; Food; Financial, Legal and Real Estate; Government; Building, Construction, Home and Repair; Industrial/Heavy Machinery and Finished Business Inputs; Communications and Information Technology; Medical and Health Care; Raw Materials and Science; Sporting Goods, Travel and Entertainment; and Transportation.

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