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Exhibit Space Jumps 5% in September

Hil Anderson
, Senior Editor
November 1, 2014

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Oceanside, CA – Exhibit space at September trade shows increased a solid 5.0% over the previous year and was part of a welcome rebound from August where total exhibit space dipped into the red, according to Trade Show Executive’s Dashboard of Monthly Trade Show Metrics. The increase also outpaced September 2013, when exhibit space grew 3.0%.

The growth in floor space in September tied in nicely with a 3.3% increase in the number of exhibitors who set up shop at the 29 shows surveyed for the Dashboard. Attendance was also up in September, but by a more-modest 0.9%.

September also provided a late surge that pushed the third-quarter metrics into the black. Exhibit space for the period grew 1.9% while exhibitor count grew 1.2% and attendance ticked 1.3% higher.

The adjusted totals for the September Dashboard included 4,190,634 nsf of exhibit space along with 10,022 exhibitors and 307,891 attendees. On a per-show basis, the average exhibition featured 190,483 nsf of floor space, 477 exhibitors and a crowd of 15,395. Adjusted totals exclude biennial shows and other shows that did not have a year-over-year comparison, or were outliers with growth or declines of 25% or more.

Ten of the 29 shows in September saw their metrics increase in all three categories. Only four were down in all three.

There were eight TSE Gold 100 events in September and three shows that appeared on the latest TSE Fastest 50 rankings of fastest-growing trade shows.

Record Attendance at IMTS

Building a full-size car with a 3-D printer on the show floor may have created some pre-show buzz, but the organizers of The International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) said the surge in attendance this year was likely due mainly to the upward momentum in the manufacturing sector.

The Association for Manufacturing Technology (AMT) reported a record crowd of 114,147 at its 30th anniversary show in Chicago. That represented a 13.9% jump from 2012 and stoked optimism for the coming years. “There was a universal vibe among exhibitors and visitors that manufacturing is now the place to be,” said Peter Eelman, AMT vice president – exhibitions and communications. “Media from all over the world covered the first-ever 3-D printed car and helped create this one-of-a-kind feel, and the entire community was caught up in the excitement.”

While attendance set a record, the other Dashboard metrics at IMTS were also impressive. The number of exhibitors topped 2,000 and the exhibit floor grew 3.4% to a whopping 1,282,914 nsf, the fourth largest in show history.

Other Growth Leaders

  • CEDIA EXPO made the latest Gold 100 rankings last year and this year made a strong bid to join the Fastest 50. The audio-visual and home-technology event in Denver grew 18.0% to 228,895 nsf, and reported a 3.6% increase in attendance. The program included 110 training sessions, including more than 40 sold-out sessions devoted to CEDIA certification training and testing.
  • The 2014 ACI-NA Annual Conference and Exhibition brought airport executives to Atlanta. All three Dashboard metrics grew by double digits, including an 18.5% jump in exhibit space to 23,100 nsf. Attendance climbed 28.9% to 2,178, likely because it was the first time the gathering included educational conferences.
  • Industrial Automation North America is part of a trio of shows that Hannover Fairs USA co-located with the IMTS at McCormick Place. The German organizer said all three events enjoyed a surge, with Industrial Automation North America doubling in size (102.8%) from 2012, reaching 50,000 nsf. The 194 exhibitors represented a 78.0% jump and had Hannover looking ahead. “Our attendees were very satisfied with the show and plan on returning in 2016,” said Larry Turner, CEO of Hannover Fairs USA. “We expect to double our space again at IMTS 2016 and look forward to introducing additional product and service categories.”

Top Cities

IMTS was the highlight of a big month in Chicago. The Windy City led the Dashboard venues in September with four shows totaling 1,596,482 nsf. The other Gold 100 show held in Chicago, GRAPH EXPO 14 & CPP Expo, took place amid a travel crisis caused by a fire at a critical air-traffic control center.

Las Vegas took second place with five Dashboard shows with a combined exhibit space of 1,067,520 nsf. Hershey finished a sweet third, thanks to the sprawling RV show.

Next Month

Winter sets in across most of the U.S. in December, and the focus is on the holidays and end-of-the-year reports, projections, and office parties. But Indianapolis will be revved up for the Performance Racing Industry’s PRI Trade Show. PRI contracted 1,100 exhibitors, including some 100 first-time exhibiting companies, filling out an exhibit floor of around 320,000 nsf.

The RV industry will be convening again, this time in Louisville at the National RV Trade Show, which reached 13th on the TSE Gold 100 with 726,209 nsf in 2013. The Recreational Vehicle Industry Association offered RV dealers a rebate to send their mechanics to the show to attend some of the many training sessions being offered.

POWER-GEN International is expecting 22,000 attendees and 1,400 exhibitors in Orlando, and the Progressive International Motorcycle Show roars into New York City.

The exhibition industry holds two of its biggest annual events. The International Association of Exhibitions & Events’ EXPO! EXPO! takes place in Los Angeles December 9-11. The ASAE Association Technology Conference & Expo will be held December 16-17 in Baltimore.

TSE Data Center