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."