Exhibition Industry Posts First Decline in 6 Years

exhibition industry

After 25 consecutive quarters of sustained growth, the exhibition industry posted its first decline. According to the Center for Industry Research (CEIR), the industry experienced a slight dip in the final quarter of 2016.

“The decline was a temporal setback as economic fundamentals still point to moderate growth for the exhibition industry,” said CEIR economist Allen Shaw of Global Economic Consulting Associates.

No need to sound the alarm just yet, meeting planners. CEIR reports that the 0.4 percent decrease was limited to three sectors: industrial and heavy machinery and finished business inputs; raw materials and science; and consumer goods and retail trade.

The report singled out last year’s low oil prices as the main culprit behind the loss: The raw materials and science sector took an 11.2 percent hit in attendees.

“Had the number of attendees of Raw Materials and Science exhibitions stayed the same as a year ago,” the study said, “the growth of attendees for the overall exhibition would have been 1.2 percent. This, in turn, would have pushed the Total Index to 1.5 percent.”

On the bright side, these sectors posted healthy year-over-year growth: building, construction, home and repair; communications and information technology; food; and sporting goods, travel and amusement all registered robust year-on-year gains.

That’s welcome news. Also, earlier this year SmithBucklin—a leading association management and services company—released an even better outlook in Circuit, its 2017 trend report.

According to the 2016 Center for Exhibition Industry Research Index Report, trade shows will sustain a yearly 3 percent growth for the next few years.

“We are hopeful this is a temporary downturn, and the industry will rebound in Q1 2017,” CEIR Foundation CEO Cathy Breden said. “We look forward to the release of the CEIR Index Report in early April, which will provide an overall view of 2016 performance and a forecast for 2017-2019.”

Read the full report here: http://www.ceir.org/ceir-announces-2016-fourth-quarter-index-results