CEIR: A Rough 2009 Ends With Signs of Rebound

HIL ANDERSON, SENIOR EDITOR
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Dallas, TX – The trade show industry took its lumps in 2009 in the form of a (12.5)% overall decline, according to figures for the year released by the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR). All 11 industry sectors covered in the CEIR Index experienced declines as did the four key metrics: net square footage, number of exhibitors, professional attendance and revenues. The (12.5)% overall decline was four times the (3.1)% dip reported in 2008.

Doug Ducate, CEIR president & CEO, said the gloomy news was not unexpected given the length and depth of the recession during 2009. At the same time, there were some definite indications that a recovery had begun to pick up steam as the year came to a close.

The Fourth Quarter of 2009 saw an overall decline for the industry of (8.9)% compared to the Fourth Quarter of 2008, although that was an improvement over the first three quarters of 2009. The metrics for Q4 2009 were:

– Net square feet: down (12.3)%
– Number of Exhibitors: down (5.8)%
– Professional attendance: down (4.1)%
– Revenue: down (13.2)%

CEIR and other industry leaders have predicted that a genuine rebound for trade shows would likely not occur before the second quarter of 2010. Ducate said anecdotal evidence was already indicating that the predictions appeared valid. He noted that trade shows made a booming recovery from the last economic decline, which took place in 2003. By the end of 2004, the industry was back to pre-2000 levels.

The complete CEIR Index for 2009 will be released in April at the Society of Independent Show Organizers CEO Summit.

The 11 industry sectors profiled in the CEIR Index are: Professional Business Services; Consumer and Retail Trade; Sports and Entertainment; Food; Government; Building and Construction; Industrial and Manufacturing; Communications and Information Technology; Medical and Health Care; Raw Materials and Science; and Transportation.

Reach Doug Ducate at (469) 574-0686 or dducate@ceir.org