Exhibition Industry Growth Slowed in Second Half of 2012, Report Shows

After a strong showing during the first half of 2012, the exhibition industry lost steam in the second half, according to the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR), which yesterday released the fourth-quarter results of its CEIR Index research report, showing that the exhibition industry continues to grow, albeit slower than expected.

Year over year, CEIR data show that overall exhibition industry activity increased by 2.4 percent in the first half of 2012, but finished the year at just 1.5 percent growth due to negative sentiment about the “fiscal cliff” crisis. By contrast, real GDP grew by 2.2 percent.

Specifically, the CEIR Index measures four exhibition industry metrics, all of which declined in the fourth quarter: The number of exhibiting companies grew 0.2 percent in the fourth quarter, down from 0.5 percent in the third quarter; professional attendance grew 1 percent, down from 1.3 percent; revenue grew 1.3 percent, down from 1.6 percent; and net square feet of exhibit space sold grew 0.8 percent, down from 1.2 percent.

“We had a positive outlook during the first and second quarters of 2012; however, the exhibition industry began to slump in the third quarter and continued through the end of the year,” explains CEIR’s economist, Allen Shaw, Ph.D., chief economist for Global Economic Consulting Associates Inc. “We attribute this to the well-publicized prospect of the ‘fiscal cliff,’ which substantially hurt business sentiment and willingness to incur travel expenses, and ultimately hurt the exhibition industry.”

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