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CEIR: Q3 Stumble for Exhibitions Industry


Dallas — The exhibitions industry stalled late this summer with overall performance drifting (0.7)% lower in the Third Quarter, according to the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR).

The latest CEIR Total Index released Dec. 7 pointed to a slump on two consumer-oriented show sectors as the primary reason for the decline. CEIR said, however, the dip was not a sign of trouble for the entire industry. “The decline was a temporary setback,” said CEIR Economist Allen Shaw, Chief Economist for Global Economic Consulting Associates, Inc. “The economic fundamentals still point to moderate growth for the exhibition industry.”

The red ink stemmed from softness in the Consumer Goods and Retail Trade (CG) and Sporting Goods, Travel, and Amusement (ST) sectors. CEIR said that culling those two broad sectors from the overall numbers produced a 2.8% increase in Q3 compared to the same period in 2016. CEIR CEO Cathy Breden told Trade Show Executive that the slump appeared linked to ongoing softness in consumer-oriented shows and the lack of data from some b-to-b shows. “Our industry is still forecast to grow through year-end,” said Breden. “The results of the third quarter might appear dire, but keep in mind that without the outliers, the exhibition industry gained 2.8% over a year ago.”

The softer results for Q3 came after a robust 3.1% growth rate in Q2, and compared to a 1.3% increase in Q3 2016. A big question is how the upcoming Q4 results would compare to a flat Q4 2016 marked by a (0.2)% decline. “In looking at performance of the industry cumulatively from Q1 through Q3, all metrics remain in positive territory,” said Shaw. “Even with the negative performance in Q3, the overall Index growth for the first three quarters still achieved a moderate 1.6% growth rate.”

The CEIR Total Index calculates the overall industry’s growth using show metrics reported by show organizers for exhibit space, exhibitors, attendance and show revenues.

Reach Cathy Breden at (972) 687-9201 or; Allen Shaw at (484) 343-6411 or

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