April Attendance and Exhibit Space
Metrics Move Up; Exhibitors Flat
Oceanside, CA – Larger crowds, busier aisles, and more expansive exhibit floors highlighted a productive and encouraging April for trade show organizers. Exhibit space and attendance were up 3.3% over April 2012, and the only red ink in the Trade Show Executive Dashboard of Monthly Trade Show Metrics was a modest (0.6)% southerly drift in the number of exhibitors.
The first month of the Second Quarter produced metrics similar to what has been seen in recent months: a few percentage points of growth in some categories that was offset by equally modest slippage in the others. In the First Quarter, which included robust performances by the TSE Gold 100 shows in January, exhibit space and exhibitor metrics were up more than 2%, but attendance was down ever so slightly by (0.6)%.
There were 20 exhibitions that made up the April Dashboard. Of that total, nine were 100,000 nsf or larger, and six joined the elite ranks of the TSE Gold 100. There was also one event, Aviation Week MRO Americas in Atlanta, whose 2012 edition was honored as a TSE Fastest 50 show at ceremonies held by TSE and 38 sponsors in Chicago in May.
For the Dashboard analysis, TSE used adjusted figures, which excluded outliers and shows that did not have a consecutive two-year comparison. Adjusted total exhibit space in April reached 2,953,652 nsf. That compared to nearly 6 million nsf in March. The exhibitor tally was 9,466 and attendance reached 258,525. The totals worked out to a per-show average of 147,683 nsf, 473 exhibitors and 13,607 attendees.
Three April shows saw their metrics decline in all three categories. Eleven of the 20 shows reported growth or no change in all three metrics.
The Big Broadcast
One of the 11 shows with an uptick in size was also the largest show held in April. The NAB Show, which last year placed 11th on the Gold 100, reported 878,500 nsf of exhibit space, up a healthy 9.1% from the 805,000 nsf last year. The growth in exhibit space was even more impressive because the number of exhibitors grew by just six companies to 1,581. Attendance increased 1.9% to 7,850.
The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) again invited key television industry executives and producers to Las Vegas to headline its conference. The strong international component to the show continued. Nearly 600 overseas exhibitors were on the floor and international attendees made up 27% of the crowd.
“Once again, NAB Show was the premiere event for content and communications professionals from around the globe," said Dennis Wharton, NAB executive vice president of media relations. "We're delighted that NAB Show's brand remains a powerful force for technological advancement in media.”
- The Reliable Plant Conference and Exhibition. The show took place in Columbus, OH and boosted its exhibit space 28.6% to 99,000 nsf and its attendance increased more than 50%. The impressive move upward in the metrics was credited to the power of strong marketing. The sales outreach was ratcheted up for this year’s show, and it paid off with a 51.2% increase in attendance. Strengthening the conference portion of the show and adding more networking opportunities also added to the show’s appeal.
- The National Wood Flooring Association Wood Flooring Expo. There were no scuffs in this show’s performance, and in fact, there was an influx of 54 new exhibitors. The influx contributed to a 16.3% increase in exhibit space on the sold-out floor.
- LIGHTFAIR International. The show organizer, AMC, Inc., reported across-the-board gains in Philadelphia. Exhibit space led the way with a 13.1% increase to 233,850 nsf. Exhibitors increased 6.5% and attendance was up 6.5%. A closer look at the statistics found healthy gains in international and first-time exhibitors from the commercial lighting industry. A pavilion for street lighting was added along with new exhibitor categories for solar-powered lighting and software to control the lights in large commercial buildings.
Expanding the exhibit floor for the International Security Conference & Expo West (ISC West) paid off with 5.1% increase in exhibitors and 2.3% growth in exhibit space to 298,200 nsf. ISC West has been on the rebound since 2009 and was No. 65 on the most recent Gold 100. This year, the show had a 2.3% increase in exhibit space to 298,200 nsf. Just over 1,000 exhibitors were on hand with a record number of new electronic security products ranging from school lockdown devices to the latest solutions to Internet hackers. “We had an increase in attendance, an expanded show floor, and increased exhibitor renewals for next year,” said Ed Several, vice president of ISC Events, a unit of Reed Exhibitions. “The industry seems poised for a great year.”
Fastest 50 Speeds
After cracking the Gold 100 and Fastest 50 rankings in 2012, GlobalShop turned in another good show this year. GlobalShop was 99th on the Gold 100 and could move up the ladder a few rungs this year thanks to a 6.5% increase in exhibit space to 198,700 nsf. Nielsen Expositions also said attendance climbed a hefty 26.7% to 14,054, making 2013 the third year in a row the crowd had grown by double digits. In 2011 and 2012, attendance was up 11%.
“The new events and innovative features on the expo floor attracted a number of attendees this year who either hadn’t experienced GlobalShop before, or hadn’t been to the show in several years,” noted Show Manager Todd Fearney.
Nielsen said the show included some new features. Breakfast and lunch were turned into working educational sessions. The “best of show” pavilion showcased the more intriguing offerings in the exhibit hall and gave attendees the opportunity to vote on the ones that caught their eye.
Springtime in Vegas
Of the nearly 3 million nsf of exhibit space tallied for the Dashboard, nearly half of it was located in Las Vegas. The Strip hosted nearly 1.5 million nsf, including four Gold 100 shows. GlobalShop and the big BIO International Convention placed Chicago in second place with 356,000 nsf. Philadelphia tallied 233,850 nsf thanks to LIGHTFAIR International.
How Did May Shows Perform?
An early Summer arrived in May along with scores of attendees pouring into convention centers nationwide. Trade Show Executive is now gathering performance data on shows such as CTIA Wireless; The National Restaurant Association’s NRA Show; RECon, the Global Retail Real Estate Convention; and the American Psychiatric Association Annual Meeting. These show reports and others will be published in the July issue of Trade Show Executive . . .
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