Photo credit: http://www.tsnn.com/news/

Getting accurate data about the exhibition industry is a tough task. Every year the UFI contacts hundreds of event organizers and professionals across the world to ask them about the performance of their events, current issues facing their sectors as well as the impact of the digitization. This Barometer is pure gold from an insights point of view for anyone who works in the exhibition industry. This is most reliable, accurate and up-to-date data about our global industry. 

The UFI Global Exhibition Barometer first appeared in 1999 and gives the most complete and reliable overview of the industry

Photo credit: www.tradefest.io

The graph shows that year after year 55% to 80% of event organizers forecast an increase in growth for the following 18 months. This year Europe and the Asia Pacific show extremely positive forecast for 2017 and 2018.

Europe, historically the leading market for exhibition industry, still holds this position and keeps the lion’s share of a major international exhibition in different sectors, most notably in Germany. Asia – Pacific region is riding the wave since 2015 as a result of APAC’s domestic economies, the good performance of the local industry, and the investments in infrastructure.

Americas and the Middle East & Africa show less favorable predictions that are prone to fluctuation.

Photo caption: www.statista.com

Just like in previous years, organizers seem to prioritize 4 main issues affecting their business:

  • “State of the economy in home market” (26%) in the Middle-East and Africa this, according to participants, is the main issue, due to the political instability and economic difficulties that prevent growth and development in the exhibition industry.
  • “Global economic developments” (22%)
  • “Competition from within the industry” (20%) : strikingly this issue increased by +4% compared from last year, which means that the number of events addressing the same sector are increasing, but above all, it means that attendees and exhibitors are more volatile than ever. This is particularly true in Europe.
  • “Internal challenges” (13%)
Photo credit: UFI Global Exhibition Barometer

The novelty in this year’s Barometer is a brand new section dedicated entirely to Digital. The results show that digital hasn’t really impacted the way companies in event industry yet. Only 23% of the participants claimed that they developed a digital transformation strategy for the whole company. The trend is however that, for the most companies digital is seen as primarily the way to improve the overall exhibition experience by adding digital service or products. UK, Germany, China and the US are clearly leading the pick.