Levallois-Perret, France – The 12th Global Exhibition Barometer from UFI, the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry, was released late last week and the outlook is positive for the coming year. Responses from 178 trade show organizers in 57 countries show that the majority believe revenues will increase in 2014.
There are, however, regional differences, with more respondents from Europe and the Middle East and Africa regions saying they expect revenues to decrease this year compared to 2013, while two-thirds to three-quarters of respondents from the Americas and Asia-Pacific countries said they expect increased revenues in 2014. The Middle East and Africa had the most respondents (16) who expect a financial dip of more than (10)% this year.
The biggest overall increase in operating profits last year was among companies in the Americas, where 55% said profits were up more than 10%. That compares to 48% of Middle East and African companies, 45% of Asia Pacific companies, and 37% of European companies. European organizers also had the fewest (36%) companies that expect operating profits to remain stable this year.
Participants also were asked if the downturn resulting from the economic crisis that began in 2009 is now over. Respondents in the Americas were the most optimistic, with a majority saying the impact on exhibition business is no longer evident. But a majority of respondents in other regions said they are still seeing lingering effects of that crisis.
Survey participants also were asked to estimate when they believe the economic crisis will end, and the result was less optimistic than in previous surveys. Just 27% said they expect the downturn to be over in 2014, down from 36% a year ago. Roughly 53% said the impact of the crisis will end in 2015 and 20% said they believe it will be even later.
Economic conditions also are top of mind among worldwide trade show organizers as they evaluate expectations for 2014. When asked to identify the three most important issues for this year, the state of the national/regional economy was mentioned by 24% of respondents; followed by global economic uncertainty (19%); local and national competition from the exhibition industry (18%); and internal management challenges (18%).
Despite these concerns, a majority of the total respondents said they intend to develop new activities in the coming year, either through traditional exhibition efforts, other live or virtual events, or both. Those intentions were expressed by 79% of Asia-Pacific respondents; 75% of respondents in the Americas; 73% in Europe; and 63% in the Middle East. In addition, 50% of the 178 responding countries said they still intend to expand operations to other countries, a trend first noted in early 2013.
The UFI survey was conducted last December. It includes information from the Society of Independent Show Organizers (SISO) as well as members of the Asociacion International de Ferias de America (AFIDA) in Central and South America, and of the Exhibition and Events Association of Southern Africa (EXSA).
Reach Paul Woodward, managing director of UFI, at (33) 14 639 7500 or firstname.lastname@example.org