UFI’s 13th Global Barometer of the exhibition industry identifies contrasting perspectives

Results of UFI’s 13th Global Barometer survey indicate contrasting perspectives for the main exhibition markets. In reviewing the consolidated results over five years, UFI, the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry, identified a majority of companies declaring an increase in their turnover. Almost one company out of two declared an increase of annual profit of more than 10 per cent since 2010. However, 56 per cent of the respondents declared that the impact of the “economic crisis” on their business isn’t over, yet most anticipate its end in 2015.

This situation related to the general economic climate is confirmed with replies received to the question on “the most important business issues” where the “state of the national/regional economy” and “global economic uncertainty” have been consistently selected as among the three most important business issues for the past 4 years. “Local competition” and “internal management challenges” were also considered significant.

At the national level, significant variations are noted:

  • A relative slowdown is expected in China where indicators still remain positive: 25 per cent of respondents declared an increase of 10 per cent of their annual profit for 2014, compared to 52 per cent for 2013. Seventy-two per cent believe that the “economic crisis” is now over, or will be by the end of 2015. Environmental challenges are also high on their list of issues.
  • The general outlook is more positive in the USA where 50 per cent of respondents project an increase of more than 10 per cent of their annual profits in 2014 and 80 per cent of respondents anticipate an increase of turnover in the coming year. Seven companies out of 10 in the USA declare that the impact of the “economic crisis” is now over.
  • In Europe, Germany and Russia show contrasted results: 53 per cent of respondents in Germany, but only 13 per cent in Russia, project an increase of more than 10 per cent of their annual profits in 2014. One company out of two in Germany, but only one in five in Russia, declare that the impact of the “economic crisis” is now over.

Paul Woodward, UFI Managing Director, concludes: “Our survey confirms that the exhibition media remains globally strong despite continuing economic challenges. UFI’s Global Barometer has become an important indicator for the industry and its stakeholders. Building on these encouraging results, we are planning to further develop the national insights that we introduced for the first time in this edition of the report.”

At the beginning of 2009, UFI decided to assess the impact of the economic downturn by developing a “Crisis Barometer” based on the perceptions of UFI’s members. Today, this survey has become the exhibitrion industry’s Global Barometer bi-annual report drawing on input from UFI members in 83 countries. It includes identical surveys for the USA conducted by SISO (Society of Independent Show Organizers), for Central and South America by AFIDA (Asociación International de Ferias de America) and by EXSA (Exhibition and Events Association of Southern Africa) of their respective members. It should be noted that while the number of replies to this survey provides solid representative results, the consolidated regional results may not reflect the situation of specific countries in that region.

The 13th Global Barometer survey, conducted in June 2014, was answered by 201 companies from 63 countries. Full results of the 13th Global Barometer Survey can be freely downloaded at www.ufi.org/research. The next UFI Global Barometer survey will be conducted in December 2014.

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