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CEIR Index Finds Slight Decline in Exhibition Industry Performance from 2000 to 2003 But Also Indicates Rebound

Renee Diiulio
, Senior Editor
August 14, 2004
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By Renee DiIulio, Senior Editor

Washington, DC, September 14 - The Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) released today the results of the CEIR Index, an objective measure of the annual performance of the exhibition industry. The analysis found that performance for the overall exhibition industry declined 2.0% from 2000 to 2003, but noted an increase in two of four metrics between 2002 and 2003, indicating a rebound has begun. Compared to other marketing media, the report found that declines in exhibition activity resulting from the events of September 11, 2001, and the global recession were modest.

The CEIR Index was released at the Exhibition Industry Senior Executive Summit (EISES), taking place at the New Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC, and measures year over year changes from 2000 to 2003 in four metrics: net square feet, the number of attendees, the number of exhibitors and revenue. A fifth value, “total,” represents an average of the four metrics. Using an “index value” of 100 for the year 2000, results were calculated for the exhibition industry as a whole as well as 11 individual sectors.

 An Overview

Overall, the report found that net square feet increased from 100.0 in 2000 to 102.3 in 2003 for a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 0.8%. The largest growth in net square feet occurred from 2002 to 2003 with an increase of 6.5% from 96.1 to 98.3.

The number of exhibitors overall from 2000 to 2003 decreased at a CAGR of 0.6%, from 100.0 to 98.3, but actually increased 6.3% from 2002 to 2003, from 92.5 to 98.3. The number of attendees also fell between 2000 and 2003, from 100.0 to 97.1, representing a CAGR of 1.0%. From 2002 to 2003, the decline leveled off, from 97.6 to 97.1, for a marginal decrease of 0.5%.

Revenue was the worst performing metric, falling to 94.1 in 2003 from 100.0 in 2000 for a CAGR of 2.0%. From 2002 to 2003, revenue declined 3.0%, from 97.0 to 94.1. The lagging rebound in revenue is attributed to the fact that prices and offerings are fixed 12 months in advance, and many organizers had been forced to freeze or reduce costs to accommodate the smaller budgets of clients.

Within the 11 sectors, performance varied dramatically. The best performers were “Sports, travel, entertainment, art and consumer services,” “Transportation” and “Medical and healthcare” which grew at 19%, 13% and 12% respectively. The “Communications and information technology” sector had the weakest performance, falling over 22% between 2000 and 2003; followed by “Consumer goods and retail trade” which declined 12% in the same period.


Details and Methodology

The report provides additional details, numerous graphs and an overview of the specific trends which impacted  each sector. Data for the CEIR Index was gathered from 258 events and designed to be representative of the universe of exhibitions. Originally, CEIR intended to publish the data annually, but recognized the added value in a quarterly report. To accomplish this, information will need to be gathered from more than 1,000 events, and the organization is reaching out to all organizers to encourage data submission. All information remains confidential.

The CEIR Index was produced with the assistance of Johnson Lambert, which collected the data and created the index; The Jordan, Edmiston Group Inc. (JEGI), which provided the trend analysis by sector and prepared and sponsored the printing; and Trade Show Executive (TSE) magazine, which furnished the overview analysis for each sector. Founding sponsors include American Business Media (ABM), Exhibition Industry Foundation (EIF), PCMA Education Foundation and The Society of Independent Show Organizers (SISO).

 Reach Doug Ducate, President and CEO, CEIR at (312) 673-4826 or

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