Exhibition Industry Reports Third Quarter Decline

In the third quarter of 2009, the exhibition industry experienced an overall 13.5 percent decline compared to the same period of 2008, according to the Dallas-based Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR), which last week released preliminary data collected for its annual The CEIR Index report.

According to CEIR, "year-over-year contraction of the exhibition industry is directly linked to the continuing recession."

The industry's third-quarter decline—its sixth consecutive quarterly decline—is a 2.6 percent decrease in performance compared to the second quarter of 2009. It reflects not only an overall industry contraction, but also a downward trend in four distinct metrics: net square feet, which was down 16.2 percent in the third quarter; revenue, which was down 22 percent; number of exhibiting companies, which was down 13.4 percent; and attendance, which fared relatively well with only a 2.5 percent decline.

Although recent economic metrics show an improvement in U.S. GDP, such that "technically we are no longer in a recessionary period," CEIR expects more declines in the fourth quarter, as "exhibitions are historically a trailing indicator."