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New Events Industry Alliance Research Shows Strong Rebound for U.K. Exhibitions

cover of the SASiE Report

BERKHAMSTED, England—The seventh Size and Scale Index for Exhibitions(SASiE) report from the Events Industry Alliance (EIA)—a collective including the Association of Event Organizers (AEO), the Association of Event Venues (AEV) and the Event Supplier and Services Association (ESSA)—illustrates a U.K. exhibitions sector in recovery. 

The study showed that there were an estimated total of 969 exhibitions held in 2022 at the U.K.’s main exhibition venues. More than a third were held at the four main venues: ExCeL London, Olympia London, the National Exhibition Centre and the Scottish Event Campus. An estimated 6.11 million people attended exhibitions at these venues over the year, and the median event size was 2,800 attendees. 

Average visitor numbers in 2022 were only down 13% from pre-COVID levels. On average, there were 126 exhibitors at each event—significantly below pre-COVID levels. 

Related. Trade Show Organizers Report Strong Q4 and 2022 Full-Year Financial Results; Significant Increases in Revenue Over 2021 

The total number of trade exhibitions was up from 2019 levels, though the total number of all exhibitions and gross exhibition size in 2022 had not caught up to pre-COVID levels. Consumer exhibitions have recovered, but are slightly smaller in size. 

This SASiE report, the first since the pandemic, shows a distinct resurgence in the sector, said Shaun Hinds, CEO Manchester Central and current EIA Chair. “2022 was a year that exemplified the resilience of the exhibition sector and the latest SASiE report confirms this. With data signaling a return to pre-COVID levels, and in some cases above 2019 figures, U.K. exhibitions successfully re-established their footing amidst ongoing economic and geo-political pressures. 

As we look to the year ahead, underpinned by the continued growing demand for live and in-person events, 2023 is our opportunity to amplify the vitally important role this sector plays in driving trade and investment as well as economic and societal prosperity,” he added. 

AEV, AEO and ESSA members can access the report free of charge; the report is also available to non-members from the AEV for £495 + VAT. 

Reach Shaun Hinds at 

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