Oceanside, CA – The results are in, and growth metrics for major medical conferences and exhibitions was mixed and lackadaisical in the First Half of 2016, with exhibit space retreating slightly, according to Trade Show Executive’s Semi-Annual Medical Show Report, to be released September 1.
Exhibit space drifted (0.2)% lower compared to the First Half of last year even though the number of exhibitors grew 1.5%. Attendance was up a slight 0.6%.
The mixed results continued the general lack of momentum for medical shows in 2015 as well.
Only eight of the 32 First Half events reported growth in all three metrics. At the same time, only three chalked up losses in all three categories. On a per-show basis, the First Half totals worked out to an average of 120,025 nsf with 456 exhibitors and 13,204 attendees.
The largest First Half show was the HIMSS Annual Conference & Exhibition, which spanned 584,090 nsf and held rankings on both the Gold 100 and Fastest 50. However, it was one of the three shows that declined across the board. Exhibit space was off (4.3)% due in part to a (9.3)% drop in the exhibitor roster; attendance slipped (3.5)%.
Much of the decline was related to unique factors, including less available exhibit space due to HIMSS’ rotation into Las Vegas. “Our professional attendance for HIMSS16 actually increased by 14.5% and we are very pleased with the results,” said HIMSS Vice President of Meeting Services Karen Malone. “And for HIMSS17, we have more space and are trending 8% ahead of 2016.”
Medical shows on the upswing included:
- The American Physical Therapy Association NEXT Conference & Exposition in Nashville, which was the smallest medical show reported in the First Half analysis at 21,000 nsf of exhibit space. It was also one of the highest achievers of the period with a 52.2% jump in exhibit space. The number of exhibitors was up just 3.6% at 143. Attendance, however, did not fare as well and declined (15.4)% at 2,307.
- AOTA Annual Conference & Expo, which set records in all three metrics. Exhibit space was up 10.5% at 44,080 nsf. Exhibitors grew 10.4% and attendance led the way with a 17.4% growth spurt. Director of Conferences Frank Gainer said a focus on feedback from attendees was helping the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) keep the meeting up to date and as relevant as possible. “Based on their feedback, we offered more sessions highlighting cutting-edge research, more content for advanced-level practitioners, and two days of student-only sessions,” he said.
- ACMG Annual Clinical Genetics Meeting, whjch continued adding exhibit space at a Fastest 50 pace. Exhibit space in Tampa was up 10.0% to 24,200 nsf. “The continued growth is a testament to the value of the meeting to ACMG members and organizations within the field of genetics and genomics,” said Jane Dahlroth, Director of Meetings and Exhibits.
Eye-Opening Growth at Vision Expo
An effective mix of special events and a wider attendee outreach provided a shot in the arm for Reed Exhibitions’ International Vision Expo & Conference in New York City.
Attendance grew by 16.4%, reaching 25,325 and placing this year’s show among the most crowded in event history. However, the exhibitor count of 623 was off (1.9)% from last year, and the show floor was also down a very slight (0.2)% to 270,985 nsf.
“The strong attendance this year, coupled with the feedback we’ve had from exhibitors that business was strong, demonstrates the continued growth and relevance of Vision Expo,” said Tom Loughran, Industry Vice President for Reed.
Chicago was the top host city for the medical show sector in the First Half with a total of 1,245,385 nsf of exhibit space. The Windy City hosted three Medical Show Report events, including HIMSS and the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting, which boasted an 8.3% increase in exhibit space and a 4.9% increase in attendance.
Anaheim was the site for three shows totaling 578,300 nsf. International Vision Expo and Conference East placed New York City third at 270,985 nsf.
Early returns from the Second Half showed signs that the year could end on a high note. The 69th AACC Clinical Lab Expo kicked things off in Philadelphia and notched a reported 14% boost in attendance plus a record exhibit floor of 244,000 nsf.
Attendance was also a likely metrics driver for the American Epilepsy Society Annual Meeting, which has notched increases in attendance in four of the last five years. And the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) is making it easier on attendees by creating an elite “best of” designation for the prime sessions at AAO 2016 in Chicago.
Chicago will also host the largest medical show in the US. The Radiological Society of North America backtracked on exhibit space last year, but is projecting a modest increase this Fall.
Finally, the American Society of Hematology (ASH) is projecting around 20,000 attendees and 200 exhibitors at the ASH Annual Meeting in early December in San Diego.
More facts and figures, plus full listing data, will be published in the September issue of Trade Show Executive magazine, sent to subscribers and available online