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The overall exhibition industry gained 2.3 percent during the first half of 2012, which matched U.S. gross domestic product growth, the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) reports. The CEIR Index also reports a quarterly increase of 2 percent, making this the eighth quarter of consecutive growth for the exhibition industry.

gdp_comparison“For the past 18 months, the exhibition industry has shown remarkable resiliency during one of the worst global economies in recent history. Compared to the first six months of 2011, the growth of the CEIR Index has steadied to 2.3 percent, in line with GDP at the same rate of growth. Based on this data and knowing that exhibitions reflect the sectors and industries they support, it is likely that the exhibition industry will continue to see positive growth in the near term,” said Allen Shaw, chief economist, Global Economic Consulting Associates.

The report is positive news, particularly given the continued fluctuating state of the global economy, and was the focal point of discussions during Predict, CEIR’s annual outlook conference, which washeld on Sept. 13 in New York City.

More than 120 C-level executives from the exhibition industry and the local financial community attended the live event. For the first time this year, CEIR offered the final two sessions of Predict to an online audience, which was open to anyone. By the close of the day, nearly 200 individuals had registered to participate in the online event, which is available on demand for the next three months.

Continued growth is projected for 2012, and predictions through 2014 were presented by CEIR President and CEO Doug Ducate at CEIR Predict. During the event, C-level executives from the exhibition and financial industries came together for an idea-share to learn from expert panelists about the trends and projections for the CEIR Index’s 14 industry sectors and the impact of the global economy on each.

“The overall consensus among the speakers was that the current economic outlook for the exhibition industry is strong for most industry sectors, but some lingering global economic uncertainty and the impact of the pending presidential election in the U.S. should be carefully considered for long-range planning,” said Chris Brown, chairman, CEIR.

Throughout the discussion at Predict, there was considerable focus on the second quarter.ceir_index Specifically quarter-to-quarter comparison results were slightly lower than the first quarter of 2012 but increased slightly over the same period in 2011. It was noted that the exhibition industry experienced an overall increase of 2.0 percent when compared to the same quarter of the previous year marking, eight consecutive quarters of growth.

During Predict, attendees gained insight from listening to their colleagues, banking and finance experts and M&A professionals. The key tool used at Predict was the 2011 CEIR Index, released in April, which reported that the overall exhibition industry had hit bottom in 2009, and that the industry should continue to see a modest recovery during the next three years in all metrics across most sectors. Attendance at exhibitions is a leading factor in the economic recovery and has now shown consistent growth for the past eight quarters.

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. 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.

All parallel indicators of recovery of net square feet, exhibitors, attendees and real revenues showed increases. Net square feet of exhibit space sold showed an increase of 1.1 percent; exhibitors increased by 1.0 percent; attendees increased by 4.3 percent; and real revenues increased by 1.5 percent.

CEIR serves to advance the growth, awareness and value of exhibitions and other face-to-face marketing events by producing and delivering knowledge-based research tools that enable stakeholder organizations to enhance their ability to meet current and emerging customer needs, improve their business performance and strengthen their competitive position.

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