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The Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) announced data collected for the third quarter CEIR Index reveals tradeshow industry growth has slowed, likely due to concerns over the “fiscal cliff” and other economic concerns.



Industry growth trailed GDP growth in the 2nd and 3rd quarter of 2012.

While the exhibition industry in the first quarter 2012 outperformed the real GDP, survey data for the second and third quarters show growth has decelerated as the index increased by only 0.9 percent. Additionally, all four key metrics showed slower year-on-year growth in the third quarter compared to the first and second quarters of this year.

“Concern about the fiscal cliff and the global economy has continued to take a toll in the exhibition industry,” said Allen Shaw, chief economist, Global Economic Consulting Associates. “The results show the exhibition industry continues to grow, but attendees and exhibitors are being cautious due to the uncertainty about the global economy.”

After 4.8 percent and 3.3 percent growth in attendance in the first and second quarters, respectively, growth slowed to 1.1 percent in the third quarter. Similar degrees of slowing growth was reflected in net square feet, which was down slightly to 1.3 percent from 1.4 percent in the previous quarter. Exhibitors showed only a modest gain of 0.9 percent from a year ago compared to 1.1 percent in the second quarter. And revenues adjusted for inflation grew to total $2.62 billion – year-on-year gain of only 0.4 percent.

Exhibition-industry growth has slowed in recent months, but good news remains.

“The good news is: our industry continued the chain of nine consecutive quarters of growth after nine consecutive quarters of negative numbers,” said Doug Ducate, president and CEO, CEIR. “And while the rate of growth slowed to 0.9 percent after 3 percent in the first quarter and 1.7 percent in the second quarter, we are still on a positive growth track.”

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.

Predict: CEIR’s Annual Outlook Conference 2013 will be held in September 2013 in New York City. Predict has become a popular event for C-level executives, M&A firms and financial institutions to discuss and strategize the performance of the exhibition industry.

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