by Matt Alderton | November 12, 2012
Not only do attendees and exhibitors value exhibitions, but they also plan to attend more of them in the next two years, according to the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR), which last week released the fifth in a series of reports culled from its landmark study, "The Role and Value of Face-to-Face Interaction."

The report, titled "Trends in Use of Exhibitions," is based on a survey of 9,000 attendees and 800 exhibitors. Both audiences were asked about their use of exhibitions — including frequency, reasons for participating and projected use in the near future — and both audiences indicated a planned increase in participation over the next 24 months.

Key findings, according to CEIR:

• When comparing attendance at business-to-business exhibitions and private events, attendees favor exhibitions, attending an average of 3.4 exhibitions annually compared to 2.6 private events.

• Six out of 10 attendees will go to the same number of exhibitions in the next two years as they are attending today while 23 percent plan to attend more.

• The search for new products continues to be attendees' primary driver (80 percent).

• Seventy-eight percent of exhibiting companies participate in more than two exhibitions each year, with a median of five per year.

• Most exhibitors (44 percent) are participating in the same number of exhibitions as they did two years ago. Looking to the next two years, over half (53 percent) will hold to current participation levels while an additional 24 percent will add more exhibitions to their schedule.

• For exhibitors planning to add exhibitions in the near-term, driving business growth is the primary reason.

"Attendee and exhibitor practices today, as well as their expected participation in the near-term, points to the resiliency and enduring value of business-to-business exhibitions," said CEIR Research Director Nancy Drapeau. "Despite economic challenges and alternative marketing options, these professionals use and value exhibitions and plan to do so in the next two years."

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