This Just In

CEIR Index Report Released; Industry Grew 1.5% in 2012


Kiawah Island, SC – The trade show industry grew a disappointing 1.5% in 2012, and the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) predicts 2013 could be equally sluggish. “The outlook for growth in 2013 is not substantial, mostly due to expected declines from the government sequester,” said Doug Ducate, president and CEO, CEIR. That could change if the U.S. Congress and President Barack Obama come up with a “grand bargain,” he said.

The results of the 2012 CEIR Index were released April 9 at the Society of Independent Show Organizers (SISO) CEO Summit in Kiawah Island, SC.

CEIR said the 1.5% overall growth rate was below what was expected at the beginning of 2012, but the good news was that the four metrics were all in the black:

  • Net square feet of exhibit space grew 1.2%.
  • Attendance increased 2.5%.
  • Exhibitors were up a relatively flat 0.5%.
  • Real revenues increased 1.6%.

By comparison, the 2011 CEIR Index showed a 2.7% overall growth rate as the industry rallied from the dark days of the 2008 recession. In 2011, exhibit space was up an identical 2.7% while attendance increased 3.4%, exhibitors grew 2.3% and real revenues climbed 2.3%.

The 2.7% increase was considered encouraging at the time because it beat the overall U.S. GDP and the U.S. economy was forecast by CEIR to grow 2.3% in 2012. The bullish stats led CEIR to predict a 3.3% overall boost for the industry in 2012.

Most Industry Sectors on Upswing

A closer look at the overall exhibition industry last year revealed that most of the 14 specific industry sectors studied in the CEIR Index were picking up steam. Eleven sectors showed improvements in 2012 of between 2.5% and 7.4%. The other four sectors declined between (0.5)% and (3.9)%.

“The sectors expected to do well out performed projections while the sectors that declined did worse than projected,” said Ducate.

Growth of individual sectors in 2012:

  1. Financial, Legal and Real Estate — +7.4%
  2. Transportation — +6.7%
  3. Communications and IT — +4.2%
  4. Food — +3.5%
  5. Discretionary Consumer Services — +2.8%
  6. Sporting Goods, Travel, Amusements — +2.5%
  7. Consumer Goods and Retail Trade — +2.5%
  8. Machinery, Finished Business Outputs — +0.4%
  9. Raw Materials and Science — +0.3%
  10. Business Services — +0.1%
  11. Medical and Healthcare — (0.1)%
  12. Building, Construction, Home Repair — (1.1)%
  13. Government — (2.4)%
  14. Education — (3.9)%

Forecast Through 2015

The modest growth rate will likely continue through the current year. “We are pleased that there was growth overall, and the coming year should see continued recovery in most sectors covered by the Index, which is inline with a moderate expansion of the macro economy,” said CEIR economist Allen Shaw of Global Economic Consulting Associates, Inc.

The good news: Attendance is expected to increase dramatically through 2015, said Ducate. “Significant pickup is expected in 2014 and 2015, with accelerated growth over the long term,” said Ducate.

Reach Doug at (972) 687-9242 or