Oceanside, CA – Key metrics for a sample of 20 shows held in March for the latest edition of Trade Show Executive’s Dashboard of Monthly Trade Show Metrics declined again, but only by (5)% or less.
The total net square footage (nsf) for the events fell (5.1)% below the March 2009 level. At the same time, exhibitors were off a modest (1.8)% and attendance fell only (1.5)%.
Individual shows reported some dramatic fluctuations in which one or two metrics rose or fell sharply. Five of the 20 events surveyed reported across-the-board gains in all three metrics. Three shows, serving the retail, medical and manufacturing sectors reported a decline in all three categories.
The total exhibit space represented by the 20 shows surveyed was 3,650,707 nsf, compared to 3,846,971 nsf in 2009. Exhibitors totaled 11,892 compared to 12,006 last year. Overall attendance reached 358,434 this year after totaling 382,950 in 2009. The average attendance per show was 19,038, down slightly from 19,321. Organizers reported that while crowds were generally thinner, the quality of the attendees was strong.
The largest show in terms of nsf was the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, which covered 713,363 nsf, up 0.2% from last year. The 2009 show was ranked No. 12 on the Trade Show Executive Gold 100 rankings released earlier this year.
The largest show that did not feature multi-ton vehicles was the HIMSS Annual Conference & Exhibition in Atlanta, which grew 4.6% to 391,560 nsf. The 2009 show was 374,450 nsf and ranked No. 42 on the Gold 100. Organizers credited the growth to new target audiences that helped bring in a large number of first-time exhibitors.
Eight shows reported lower attendance. Most gains and losses were in the single-digit range. A few reported more dramatic swings. WESTEC said the crowd at its Los Angeles show fell from 15,825 last year to 12,427, a drop of (21.5)%. On the plus side, returning to Las Vegas was credited with boosting attendance at Tobacco Plus Expo International from 2,490 to 4,286, a jump of 72.1%.
Other solid performances included exhibitor growth of 22.1% at the New England Food Show in Boston, and 9.5% at VoiceCon Orlando.
The food sector was the strongest performer in March followed by the retail, medical, automotive and building sectors. Las Vegas, Orlando and Atlanta were the most popular venues.
Reach Carol Andrews, TSE editor-at-large, at (562) 505-7903 or firstname.lastname@example.org