Continued growth for 2012 is the outlook for the exhibition industry based on first quarter survey results reported by the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR).
Data collected for the first quarter CEIR Index reveals that the Total Index increased by 2.7 percent compared to the same period in 2011. The exhibition industry continued to outperform real GDP, which increased at a rate of 2.0 percent from a year ago. In tandem with the overall, all four key metrics showed positive results on a year-on-year basis with attendance as the leading, key driver for the period.
“The first-quarter results are very promising, said Allen Shaw, economist, CEIR. “They show that the exhibition industry is on the upswing despite a sluggish economy. With seven consecutive quarters of growth now, we are even more confident of our predictions for the exhibition industry.”
Examining the key metrics evaluated by the CEIR Index, the year-on-year growth of attendees accelerated to 4.6 percent compared to 3.5 percent in the fourth quarter. Net square feet followed with an increase of 3.4 percent but was less than the growth of the fourth quarter, which reported 4.8 percent. Both exhibitors and real revenues each increased slightly by 1.5 percent during the first quarter following a 2.1 percent and 5.2 percent growth respectively in the preceding quarter.
“The CEIR Index, released in March, reported that the leading indicator to look for in the exhibition industry recovery is an increase in professional attendance,” said Doug Ducate, CEO and president, CEIR. “This is a very good indicator that the exhibition industry is clearly emerging from the recession and may begin to see consistent growth for the foreseeable future.”
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 including business services, consumer goods and transportation.