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 Society of Independent Show Organizers (SISO) CEO Summit.
Each metric measured by the CEIR Index saw positive growth in 2012. Net square feet (NSF) grew 1.2 percent, the number of exhibitors increased 0.5 percent, the number of attendees increased 2.5 percent, and real revenues grew 1.6 percent.
Overall, the industry showed growth of 1.5 percent, but 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.
“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,” Greg Ortale, CEIR chairman of the board and president and CEO of the Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau. “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.”
After its initial release, a forecast update of the Index will be presented at the CEIR Predict conference in New York City on Sept. 12.
“2012 was an interesting year,” said Allen Shaw, Ph.D., CEIR economist and chief economist for Global Economic Consulting Associates, Inc. “Despite the fear of the so-called ‘fiscal cliff’ (being) 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 addition to the overall, 11 sectors showed growth in 2012. Financial, Legal and Real Estate and Transportation showed the most growth exceeding expectations with 7.4 percent and 6.7 percent respectively.
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.