This Just In
  • Detroit’s Cobo Center receives ASTM Venue Standard recertification, having first received certification in 2015.
  • Host to this year’s Sustainable Brands Conference, Cobo Center was the 9th facility in 2015 to receive ASTM Venue Standard certification.
  • Convention Data Services broke ground on its new corporate headquarters in mid-March. The approximate 30,000-sf building opens in Q1 2018.
  • The new digs are next to the current CDS HQ in Bourne, Mass. The construction will accommodate the company’s growth and create new jobs.
  • China’s Shenyang New World EXPO opened March 1, hosting 2 exhibitions in its first month of operation, with a third to be held 23-25 March.
  • To date, the largest event was a dental equipment and oral health exhibition, open 16-19 March, which drew more than 39,000 attendees.

Exhibit Space Takes 4.5% Leap in January

Hil Anderson
, Senior Editor
March 1, 2015

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Oceanside, CA – Another New Year in the exhibition industry got off on the right foot in January with solid gains in exhibit space.

As was the case at the start of 2014, shows held in the busy month of January reported gains that were comfortably above the growth rate for the entire previous year.

Exhibit space was particularly strong this January, increasing 4.5% over the amount of space sold for the January 2014 show, according to the TSE Dashboard of Monthly Trade Show Metrics. Attendance was up 2.5% and the number of exhibitors taking part in U.S. trade shows grew by 1.9%. That compared with full-year increases in 2014 of 2.6% for exhibit space, 1.3% for attendance and 2.0% for exhibitors.

January is traditionally a banner month for trade shows. It begins with the high-profile International CES and continues on with flagship shows for construction, sporting goods, gifts and other industries. The most recent Trade Show Executive (TSE) Gold 100 rankings of largest U.S. trade shows listed 18 events that took place in January.

There were 26 January 2015 shows surveyed for the TSE Dashboard. Of that number, 19 had 100,000 nsf or more of exhibit space, and 14 were ranked on the latest Gold 100. Five shows from the TSE Fastest 50 were held in January, including three that were pegged on both lists.

After calibrating the totals to exclude outliers and those shows on a non-annual schedule, the Dashboard shows turned in a combined adjusted total of 9,129,573 nsf of exhibit space occupied by 24,683 exhibiting companies. The adjusted total crowd count drew closer to the 1 million mark with a total of 937,953 attendees. The totals distilled to an average of 396,938 nsf per show, along with 1,028 exhibitors and 36,075 attendees.

Most January shows, however, experienced mixed results. Eight shows saw increases in all three Dashboard metrics while two reported declines in all three.

Winter Wonderland

Home for the holidays quickly gave way to fabulous Las Vegas for hundreds of thousands of buyers and sellers in January. Six Dashboard shows took place in Las Vegas during the month, including four Gold 100 events.

The International CES alone drew 170,000 attendees, a 5.9% increase over the previous year. Comparable crowds also flew in for major events including the SHOT Show, PPAI Expo and the five-show Design & Construction Week.

It was another record year for CES, which was not only the largest trade show in the nation in January, but also again turned in robust gains that outpaced the overall Dashboard growth.

When the dust settled, CES had increased its exhibit space by 8.5% over 2014 to 2,235,936 nsf and the number of exhibitors grew 3.7% to 3,631. “This CES vastly exceeded our expectations,” said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association.

The show stuck to its strategy of embracing an increasingly wide range of industries tied into the burgeoning worldwide consumer market for electronics. Product launches again went well beyond televisions and into fledgling lines such as 3D printers, wearable technology, and driverless automobiles. “CES is the center of the convergence among content, services and products,” Shapiro said.

Las Vegas was also the site of Design & Construction Week, an all-encompassing event for the construction trade. The International Builders’ Show was the largest of the week’s five shows with 477,703 nsf, an 11.4% increase over last year. The itinerary for attendees also included the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show, which grew 20.5% to 271,830 nsf; Las Vegas Market; The International Surface Event; and the International Window Coverings Expo.

The SHOT Show was up 0.8% to 641,400 nsf, but attendance was off (5.9)%. Chris Dolnack, senior vice president and chief marketing officer for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, explained that the attendance requirements for the SHOT Show were tightened this year in order to raise the quality of the buyers. “This second-largest attendance is in keeping with what we have seen in the past year — that our industry is in good health and that manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers have a positive outlook.”

Growth Leaders

  • The AHR Expo: International Air Conditioning, Heating, Refrigeration Expo took place at McCormick Place this year and was the largest AHR Expo ever in Chicago. The show registered a 26.4% jump in exhibit space to 486,600 nsf. Exhibitor count grew 9.2%, surpassing the 2,000 threshold. Attendance was up 1.3% at 61,990. “We have had tremendous support from the 41 sponsors and endorsing associations that participate, as well as our exhibitors,” said Clay Stevens, president of International Exposition Company.
  • International Production and Processing Expo was the largest in the three years since a trio of exhibitions in the meat, poultry and feed processing industries joined forces. The overall exhibit space in Atlanta totaled 483,013 nsf, a 21.8% jump from 2014. Attendance and exhibitor numbers also posted double-digit growth.
  • Tobacco Plus Convenience Expo International also enjoyed double-digit growth across the board. Exhibit space in Las Vegas was up 26.3% at 84,680 nsf, making the event a viable Fastest 50 candidate. The number of exhibitors ballooned 38.9% to 461 and attendance grew 18.0% and topped 4,000.

Top Cities

Las Vegas was by far the leader among several cities that hosted trade shows in January. Six events in Las Vegas totaled 4,030,049 nsf, about half of which belonged to the International CES.

Tampa was in second place, thanks to the Florida RV SuperShow, which grew 6.8% to 1,018,926 nsf despite a (5.0)% decline in the number of exhibitors. Atlanta was in the No. 3 position with IPPE and the Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market combining for 821,455 nsf.

Kudos were also in order for Long Beach and Orlando for hosting multiple Dashboard shows.

Next Month

April will be headlined by the NAB Show, which has been moving closer to the 1 million nsf mark. The exhibit hall will be bolstered this year with a new pavilion for drones, complete with technical sessions and a “flying cage” demonstration area.

The New York International Auto Show is also expected to cover nearly 1 million nsf and will give the general public a good chance to see the inside of the newly renovated Jacob K. Javits Convention Center.

National Trade Productions brings Coverings to Orlando where it will look to match the 9.4% increase in exhibit space that occurred last year in Las Vegas.

Chicago will host HIMSS15 this year. The perennial Gold 100 event set a show record with 535,300 nsf of exhibit space in Orlando last year. HIMSS also highlights an active month for medical conferences, including Medical World Americas in Houston and the American Association for Cancer Research in Philadelphia.

The biennial Clean Show reported brisk early space sales as it prepared to rotate into Atlanta, and PennWell will be looking to top last year’s record attendance of 31,936 at its Fire Department Instructors Conference in Indianapolis.