DALLAS — The trade show industry showed some slight improvement during the Third Quarter of 2019, according to the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR), although the growth rate remained under 1.0% and continued to lag the overall economy.
The CEIR Total Index report issued Dec. 12 posted a 0.6% overall growth rate for the industry, an improvement over Q3 2018 when growth was a paltry 0.2%.
Three of the four metrics used to compile the CEIR Total Index posted gains in Q3 while exhibit space slipped (0.3)%. Real revenues showed the most upward momentum with a 1.7% increase. Exhibitor counts increased 0.6% and attendance was up 0.5%.
By comparison, the growth rate for the national GDP in Q3 was pegged at 2.0%. “In line with the macroeconomy, the growth of the exhibition industry has continued, but at a slower pace,” said CEIR CEO Cathy Breden. “The growth during the first three quarters indicates that the exhibition industry is on track to register a ninth consecutive year of growth, albeit slowing growth as was forecasted by our economist in the 2019 CEIR Index Report.”
The slowdown was more apparent when compared with Q2 2019, when the overall growth rate came in at 1.6%.
CEIR Economist Allen Shaw, who is also the Chief Economist for Global Economic Consulting Associates Inc., was optimistic that the industry would end the year on a higher note. “The growth of the exhibition industry should pick up the pace moderately during the fourth quarter of the year and through the first half of next year despite uncertainties surrounding trade negotiations with China and slowing world economic growth,” he said.
Growth rates differed according to industry sector in Q3. Shows in the Communications and Information Technology; Building, Construction, Home & Repair; and Food sectors reported “robust year-over-year gains,” CEIR said, while the Education; Discretionary Consumer Goods and Services; and Raw Materials and Science sectors posted declines compared with Q3 2018.