November 23, 2017
    Nonprofit exhibition activity grows in spite of early grim expectations

    The exhibition industry is on a solid position for a robust growth year due to, in part, exhibition activity by nonprofits.

    Center for Exhibition Industry Research recently released its CEIR Total Index for the 2nd quarter, which found the Education and Nonprofit sector, along with the Government sector grew unexpectedly by respectable paces in spite of grim expectations at the beginning of the year. These two sectors were pessimistic as tight budgets and sluggish government employment were expected to shrink the potential attendee lists for those exhibitions. The outlook was especially grim for exhibitions catering to government services, such as military applications. This followed several down years, as well.

    But the expansion in these areas may reflect some pent-up demand by state and local employees looking to retool their enterprises, CEIR officials say. These stronger than expected gains in ED and GV have provided an unexpected boost to the overall performance of the exhibition industry.

    All four exhibition metrics in the second quarter posted year-on-year gains. The strongest metric was Real Revenues, which rose an impressive 6.1 percent, followed by Net Square Feet with an increase of 3.6 percent. Professional Attendance rose 3.1 percent, and Exhibitors increased 2.6 percent.

    Over the three years through 2014, the exhibition industry growth generally lagged the pace of GDP, but the industry has now outperformed the macroeconomy for two quarters straight by a wide margin.

    "The second-quarter results are very promising. They show that the exhibition industry is on a solid position for robust growth this year," CEIR economist Allen Shaw, PhD, said.

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