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Economic Seas Calming? TSE Dashboard Shows Modest Growth in All Three Metrics

Darlene Gudea
, Publisher & Editor
August 2, 2010
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By Darlene Gudea, president, Trade Show Executive Media Group

Carol Andres, editor-at-large

Hil Anderson, senior editor


Oceanside, CA - The Summer started in a positive direction with all three analytics in the Trade Show Executive (TSE) Dashboard of Monthly Trade Show Metrics posting growth of between 2% and 3% in June.

The number of exhibitors and attendees participating in exhibitions in June grew 2.8% and 2.4% respectively over last June. Net square footage (nsf), which had been in the red for seven of the last eight months, increased 2.0%.

The across-the-board growth was a welcome rebound from May when the nsf metric plunged (17.9)% in defiance of a 5.2% increase in exhibitors and 3.5% boost in attendees.

The adjusted totals for the metrics, which excluded two shows where an “apples-to-apples” comparison was not possible, pegged the total exhibit space for June at 2,716,583 nsf; exhibitors at 12,097 and attendance at 289,889.  The adjusted average totals per show were also up for all three metrics with the average exhibit area ticking up from 115,840 nsf last June to 118,112 nsf this year.

The largest show in the Dashboard in terms of exhibit space was JCK Las Vegas, which tipped the scales at 512,000 nsf. The retail event organized by Reed Exhibitions – and ranked No. 28 on the TSE Gold 100 rankings of largest trade shows – was actually down (1.7)% from last year when 521,000 nsf was sold. Reed said a 23% increase in international attendance kept the crowd count steady at 20,000. The number of exhibitors was also (2.2)% lower at 2,480.

Another large June event in Las Vegas, InfoComm International, reported impressive improvements in all three categories. Exhibit space was up 6.4% to 475,000 nsf; the exhibitor ranks increased 11.2% to 925; and attendance grew 9.5% to 32,002.

InfoComm (No. 33 on the Gold 100) was one of 16 shows that reported growth or no change in at least two of the three metrics. Only two events reported declines in all three categories ― and the organizers of one of the two, Florida Roofing & Sheet Metal Expo, said the crowd of 2,200 in Orlando was nonetheless “great considering the slowdown in construction.”

While medical and technology shows continued to turn in solid performances, a welcome sight was the good showings put on by food and retail-sector events. Like construction, consumer-oriented sectors are considered particularly vulnerable to downturns in the economy. But along with JCK Las Vegas, shows aimed at retail consumers, such as the ASTRA Marketplace & Academy, World Tea Expo and the Summer International Fancy Food & Confection Show, saw their exhibit space increase over last year.

(A notable number from the Fancy Food Show that wasnot included in the Dashboard calculations but saluted nonetheless was the 150,000 pounds of leftover food that was donated to City Harvest to help feed New York’s needy).

Medical shows continued to be rock solid performers. Attendance at the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) Annual Meeting in Baltimore soared 40% to 5,600 and exhibit space increased 4.7% to 24,805 nsf despite a (10)% decline in the number of exhibitors. The event was held in conjunction with the World Congress on Exercise in Medicine. The American Diabetes Association Scientific Sessions in Orlando reported a (11.3)% decrease in exhibit space to 83,700 nsf. International attendance, however, was up 58% and overall attendance increased 4%.

Orlando remained among the top show venues with five Dashboard shows. Las Vegas again led the field with six of the shows. New York City was third with two.


Read the full report in the latest issue of Trade Show Executive online

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