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U.S. Exhibition Market Growing But Facing Challenges, AMR Report Finds


LONDON — The U.S. exhibitions market is forecast to continue its steady growth since 2010, expanding an average 3.5% annually through 2022, according to a white paper released this month by AMR International, a leading events strategy consulting firm. The AMR paper also points to “unprecedented change” facing the exhibitions industry, and offers AMR’s Exhibitions 2.0 model as a framework for navigating disruption.

Key points in AMR’s “The U.S. Exhibitions Industry: Developments and Opportunities for Organizers” include:

1. Valued at $13.7 billion in 2017, the U.S. exhibitions market, the world’s largest, remains an attractive investment. “Growth is underpinned by both the face-to-face element of events and the ‘touch and feel’ experience events enable. These unique features continue to draw attendee and exhibitor participation in events, despite the rise of digital channels.”

2. Trade shows remain highly profitable. “The results of publicly quoted groups demonstrate more than 30% EBITDA margins. Many large associations enjoy the highly positive cash flows of their flagship events, enabling them to fund their broader activities on behalf of members.”

3. Fragmentation poses challenge to growth. Attendees and exhibitors have more choices, and as a result are looking for return on their investment in time (for attendees) and expenditures (exhibitors). “There is increasing fragmentation and the growth of niche events. The consequence is that organizers are finding it increasingly challenging to support sustainable performance.”

4. New ways of working are required. AMR argues for its Exhibitions 2.0 model as a strategic framework for evolving show performance. This is a customer-focused, technology-enabled approach that includes “event-level strategy, price optimization, digital packages, e-directories, advanced analytics, sponsorship, and driving customer advocacy.” The white paper cites examples that show  “implementing AMR’s Exhibitions 2.0 initiatives can lead to a bottom-line improvement of 10-15 percentage points.”

AMR’s 2019 white paper on the U.S exhibition industry can be downloaded here. The company’s white paper on Exhibitions 2.0 can be downloaded here.

Reach Steven Raw, AMR International’s Country Manager USA, at +1 646 465 5972

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