The Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) has announced the release of the CEIR Index Report, an Analysis of the 2011 Exhibition Industry and Future Outlook, and the outlook is positive. Despite a sluggish macro economy, the overall exhibition industry posted a relatively strong rebound of 2.7 percent, outpacing real GDP growth by 1 percentage point in 2011.
The gain in the exhibition industry was reflected in all four metrics of measurement. This marks an end of three consecutive years of declines. The relatively strong rebound was better than expectations, finishing 15 percent higher than forecast.
“Knowing that the CEIR Index serves as the barometer for the exhibition industry, I am excited by the 2011 overall results and even more so by the future outlook,” said Chris Brown, CEIR Chairman of the Board and executive vice president of conventions and business operations for the National Association of Broadcasters. “The definitive results from our economists confirm their predictions from last year, and the three-year forecast is very encouraging.”
Each metric measured by The Index saw positive growth. Net Square Feet (NSF) grew 2.7 percent, the number of exhibitorsincreased2.3 percent, the number of attendees increased 3.4 percent, and Real Revenues grew 2.3 percent. Since the number of attendees tends to be a leading indicator, strong growth in that area bodes well for the industry going forward.
There was varied growth across the sectors. Government (GV) (7.0 percent) and business process-related exhibitions, including Machinery and Finished Business Outputs (ID) (11.2 percent), Communication and Information Technology (IT) (8.1 percent), and Transportation (TX) (5.7 percent), grew the fastest. The growth of those sectors was stronger than anticipated. In contrast, Building, Construction, Home and Repair (HM) (-5.3 percent), Sporting Goods, Travel, and Amusement (ST) (-0.8 percent), and Medical and Health Care (MD) (0.2 percent) experienced negative or negligible growth. For those industries, the underlying macroeconomic indicators over the recession and the recovery turned out to be weaker than the original government data indicated. The macroeconomic drivers in 2011 were also more anemic than the Index forecast. Thus, the growth of those exhibition sectors was weaker than anticipated.
“The predictive feature that was added last year has been very revealing,” said Doug Ducate, CEIR President and CEO. “CEIR’s economists, Dr. Allen Shaw of GECA and Dr. Jeff Werling of Inforum, were on point with their predictions for 2011, and they have done an excellent job of analyzing and reporting the data that exhibition organizers and corporations with an event portfolio can use to gauge results against the entire industry and events within a specific sector.”
The U.S. economy finished 2011 with upward momentum and employment growth also accelerated in the second half of 2011 and into 2012, adding 1.2 million jobs. The coming year should see continued recovery in all metrics and across all sectors covered by the Index,
in line with a moderate expansion of the macro economy.
“The results seen in 2011 are very promising and serve as a strong platform for the next three years,” said Dr. Shaw. “With a decade of data and observing the resilience of the exhibition industry through recession and a fragile global economy, the outlook is positive.”
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: 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.
The CEIR Index will be released at 2012 SISO CEO Summit on March 26, and a forecast update will be presented at the CEIR Predict conference in New York on September 13, 2012. Exhibition organizers who contributed data to the Index will receive the Index with the Introduction and Methodology, The Macro Economy and Overall Exhibition Industry, and the sector report in which their event(s) fall.
For information on how to purchase the complete CEIR Index, visit http://www.ceir.org/the-big-reports/exhibition-index/index-preorder.