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When is a trend a trend?

In early March, the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) issued a very encouraging report for the tradeshow industry. With a 3 percent growth rate in the fourth quarter of 2013 over 2012, the industry now boasts 14 straight quarters of positive growth. This growth rate outperformed the macro economy at a real GDP growth rate of 2.7 percent.

The CEIR report tracks four key metrics: Net Square Feet of Exhibit Space Sold, Professional Attendance, Number of Exhibiting Companies and Gross Revenue. All metrics grew with the exception of a slight decline in Net Square Feet. Within industry sectors the biggest gains were in Industrial/Heavy Machinery and Finished Business Inputs.

An article in the New York Times referencing a positive increase in the number of exhibitors at the PGA show in Orlando in January mentioned that “among the more than 1,000 companies, more than 200 were new to the show this year.” Certainly this is good news for our industry and the economy as a whole.

So what does all this mean? As Skyline Genesis is a New York City-based business, these national figures do not necessarily reflect our local economy. There is certainly a dearth of manufacturing companies here. And as New York City has seen resurgence in the tech sector with Silicon Alley making a comeback, and even an emergence of “Hollywood East” in the movie business, these growth sectors are offset by a decline in our historically most significant business sector – finance.

The overall trend seems to be companies continuing to use tradeshows as a marketing tool but doing fewer shows than in the past. A company that was doing 10 shows per year is now doing four shows. This may not be a bad thing as Skyline Genesis has long recommended to its clients a more focused, discriminating and strategic approach to tradeshows to help maximize ROI. If the national upward growth trend is combined with practices to plan better and measure results more precisely, then the trade show industry will remain healthy and growing. So let’s keep the trend going and aim for meaningful results that drive businesses forward.

Al Mercuro, senior account executive, Skyline Genesis Event Marketing, with over 25 years in the tradeshow and event marketing industry brings an intuitive ability to match unique client needs to innovative solutions. For more information, contact Al directly at 212.647.7600 x136 or via email at amercuro@skylinegenesis.com.


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