Holiday Joy as November Shows Post Solid Gains

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Oceanside, CA – The holiday season began on a bullish note with sizable gains in all three categories of the Trade Show Executive (TSEDashboard of Monthly Trade Show Metrics.

November was the fourth consecutive month in which all three metrics — exhibit space, number of exhibitors and attendance — improved. The upward momentum appeared to be gaining steam in November with higher percentages of growth than were reported in October.

Exhibit space at 22 November shows jumped 8.6% over November 2009. In contrast, exhibit space for 34 shows held in October, and published in TSE’s December Dashboard, was 5.7% higher than the previous year. A similar pattern was seen in the number of November exhibitors, which increased 6.0% over 2009 to 10,764 companies. Attendance was up 2.0% to 431,062.

Ten of the 22 shows surveyed reported increases or no change in all three metrics, and only three had declined in all three. Half of the 22 shows had exhibit areas of more than 100,000 nsf.

A year ago, the picture was bleak. In the Dashboard of November 2009 shows, there was red ink in all three metrics. Exhibitors were down (9.9)%, attendance was off (1.8)% and exhibit space had plummeted a startling (15.3)%.

RVs on a Roll

The largest show this November was the Annual National RV Trade Show in Louisville, KY, which covered 766,153 nsf. That’s an increase of 26.8% over 2009 in an industry that tends to feel the pinch from a recession quickly. Attendance was also up 4.5% and exhibitors increased 14.6%.

The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) said its dealer attendance was up 11% and there was an air of optimism on the floor fueled by projections of a solid increase in vehicle shipments in 2010. “The positive energy in Louisville shows the strength of the industry’s recovery,” said RVIA President Richard Coon. “It gives us a great opportunity to build on this year’s growth and to have a prosperous 2011 and beyond.”

Growth Leaders

There were upbeat results from other shows as well.

  • The AAPEX Automotive Aftermarket Products Expo in Las Vegas reported exhibit space up 16.8% to 448,700 nsf, and the number of exhibitors was up 17.8% to 2,049. William T. Glasgow, Inc. added a Rebuild Demo Area to the show floor and made improvements to its packaging area with industry partners that included the Packaging Machinery Manufacturers Institute (PMMI). The PMMI held its massive PACK Expo in Chicago the month before.
  • The IAAPA Attractions Expo had an 11.9% increase in exhibit space to 453,100 nsf and 6.1% more exhibitors. Attendees came to Orlando from 96 nations and boosted the attendance figure 4.2% to 25,000. “We had a great show,” said IAAPA President and CEO Charles Bray. “There is a sense of optimism in the industry. Exhibit sales were strong and industry leaders came here to buy.” The show was held last year in Las Vegas and will be in Orlando through 2019.
  • The International Pool/Spa/Patio Expo saw its Las Vegas exhibit space grow 12.3% to 122,500 nsf and exhibitors increase 6.0% to 459. Hanley Wood said it had a big international attendee cadre and also saw a number of key manufacturers return who had not taken part in the show for several years.
  • DEMA Show organizers were pleased to see their exhibit space grow 4.5% to 117,800 nsf and attendance increase 8.3% to 9,753. The number of exhibitors fell (5.2)%. The Diving Equipment & Marketing Association said the overall numbers were encouraging given the hit from the recession.
  • The International Hotel/Motel and Restaurant Show welcomed 1.6% more exhibitors to New York, but attendance and exhibit space were both down more than (5.0)%. GLM added a showcase for suppliers to the luxury market.

The Doctors Were In

Medical trade shows were again the leading sector, with seven scientific meetings and health care industry events listed in the Dashboard.

· The largest event was the Radiological Society of North America Scientific (RSNAAssembly and Annual Meeting at Chicago’s McCormick Place. One of the largest medical exhibitions in the U.S., RSNA 2010 was relatively flat with exhibit space down (0.8)% to 452,750 nsf, and exhibitors off (3.3)% at 678. Attendance, however, grew 3.3% to an estimated 57,000.

· The SFN Neuroscience conference in San Diego had 12.3% more exhibit space and 4.7% more attendees than the 2009 event in Chicago.

· Nielsen Expositions’ Medtrade Conference & Expo in Atlanta credited a strong education program, which included 11 separate tracks, with boosting attendance 4% to 9,477. Exhibit space grew 10.9% to 156,410 nsf.

· The GNYDM – Greater New York Dental Meeting said its show floor sold out, although the size of the floor this year was (2.9)% smaller than 2009, at 180,279 nsf.

Leading Management, Venues

The cities that hosted medical events were scattered around the U.S.  Las Vegas again hosted the most Dashboard shows with four followed by Atlanta with three. But the Annual National RV Trade Show alone was enough to place Louisville at the top of the list in terms of net square footage.

The RVIA was also the leading show organizer by virtue of size. The RSNA was second and IAAPA’s in-house midway placed it third. Glasgow’s AAPEX Automotive Aftermarket Products Expo was the largest event from a non-association organizer.

Next Month

Early returns indicate December will be a good month, although few major shows were held then. TSE’s next Dashboard will be available February 1 online.