Photo Credit: UFI

UFI, the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry, has released the latest, 30th edition of its flagship Global Exhibition Barometer research, which takes the pulse of the industry.

The results highlight the quickening pace of the industry’s recovery in 2022 and a positive outlook for 2023. While there is strong evidence that COVID-19 is behind in most markets, where the full recovery is expected in 2023, there remain a few markets, including China, where this full recovery is not anticipated in 2023. Globally, the level of operations continues to improve, with a proportion of companies declaring a “normal activity” gradually increasing from 30% in January 2022 to 72% in December 2022 and expected to reach 80% in June 2023 – aligning with pre-pandemic levels.

“The need to further develop digitalisation is top of mind around the world.”

Companies from most markets expect to deliver 2022 results close to their 2019 levels. In terms of operating profit, around half of the companies are declaring an increase or stable level for 2022 compared to 2019 levels and increasing to 7 out of 10 for 2023. Those results for 2022 were achieved with no public financial support for 69% of companies, and for half of those that did, this aid represented less than 10% of their overall costs.

The most pressing business issues also reflect how the industry is now focusing on post-pandemic challenges and opportunities: “Internal management challenges” (highlighted by 20% of respondents), “Impact of digitalisation” (16%), and “State of the economy in the home market” and “Global economic developments” (both 15% of answers) are the most common ones. By comparison, the “Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the business” is now marked by only 5% of companies as one of the most important issues (compared to 19% twelve months ago).

“We can stop focusing on ‘post-pandemic recovery’ – and move on! This 30th edition of our Barometer confirms that the recovery phase is ending in most markets around the world. While every market shows certain specifics, global attention has shifted toward future challenges. Internal management – primarily staffing – and the need to further develop digitalisation are top of mind around the world,” says Kai Hattendorf, Managing Director and CEO at UFI.

Photo Credit: UFI

Size and scope

This latest edition of UFI’s bi-annual industry survey was concluded in January 2023 and includes data from 367 companies in 56 countries and regions. The study also includes outlooks and analysis for 21 focus countries and regions – Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Chile, China, Colombia, France, Germany, Greece, India, Italy, Malaysia, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Spain, Thailand, Turkey, the UAE, the UK and the USA – as well as five additional aggregated regional zones.

The next UFI Global Exhibition Barometer survey will be conducted in June 2023.

In line with UFI’s objective to provide vital data and best practices to the entire exhibition industry, the full results can be downloaded at www.ufi.org/research.

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