Trade Show Attendance

2015 a Smashing Year for Tradeshows, CEIR Report Finds

The CEIR annual report finds tradeshows finished strong last year.

There’s nothing as sweet as seeing continued growth.

The tradeshow industry has experienced just that, with the annual report from the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) revealing multiple positive trends. This year’s CEIR Index confirms 22 consecutive quarters of growth since 2009.

“We anticipated 2015 would deliver positive results and yet we were pleasantly surprised that the industry outperformed our original projections,” Brian Casey, CEIR president and CEO, said in a press release. “While there are varying perspectives on the future performance of the U.S. economy, we remain optimistic for the year ahead.”

Healthy signs

The ultimate measurement for the industry, the CEIR Total Index, indicates that overall tradeshows grew by 3.7 percent in 2015. That’s 1.8 points higher than the level reached in 2014, and both the second-highest level of growth since the second quarter of 2012 and the 22nd consistent quarter of yearly increases.

There were some signs of possible stagnation in last year’s CEIR Index, as the results from 2012 to 2014 showed the industry running behind overall GDP growth. But these new statistics overwhelmingly showcase a confident exhibition industry.

“Slowly but surely, the exhibition industry is gaining strength,” Casey said in a statement last year.

Though the number of exhibitors rose less than 1 percent, revenues (+6.5 percent) and attendees (+4.9 percent) showed strong numbers. In 2015, there were 33.4 million attendees at tradeshow events, beating out a record high in 2007. Net square feet for such events in the exhibition space rose 2.6 percent in 2015.

Looking ahead, 2016 is expected to be just as strong — if not stronger — than last year.

“The strong momentum in the exhibition industry could carry forward into 2016 and offset weaker macro factors,” CEIR economist Allen Shaw, Ph.D., said.

CEIR plans to dive back into its statistics and peer into the future during the”Predict: CEIR’s Annual Outlook Conference” this fall.

(David Becker/ThinkStock)

Patrick deHahn

By Patrick deHahn

Patrick deHahn is a contributor to Associations Now. MORE

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