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First Things First

Predict, CEIR’s Annual Outlook Conference 2013, will be held September 12 in New York City. Predict has become the must-attend event for C-level executives, M&A firms and financial institutions to discuss and strategize on performance of the exhibition industry.
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2012 CEIR Index Results Released

The Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) released the CEIR Index Report, an Analysis of the 2012 Exhibition Industry and Future Outlook. Overall, the industry showed growth of 1.5 percent, but fell short of its optimistic forecast for the year. The outlook for growth in 2013 is not substantial; however, significant pickup is expected for 2014 and 2015, with positive and accelerated growth over the long term.

Each metric measured by the Index saw positive growth in 2012. Net square feet (NSF) grew 1.2 percent, the number of exhibitors increased 0.5 percent, the number of attendees increased 2.5 percent and real revenues grew 1.6 percent.

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CEIR Results Show Slower Growth

The Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) has released year-end results for the CEIR Index. After an encouraging first half–with growth near 2.4 percent and tracking to meet the 2.9 percent projection–performance in the second half of 2012 declined. The “cooling” that was reflected in the third quarter continued into the fourth quarter, with the CEIR Index for the overall exhibition industry finishing at 1.5 percent growth for the year, lagging behind the revised government GDP estimate of 2.2 percent.

CEIR Economist Allen Shaw, Ph.D., said, “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.”

Compared to the third quarter, Attendance–the leading indicator–slowed from 1.3 percent to 1.0 percent. Similarly slowing growth was reflected in Net Square Feet which was down slightly from 1.2 percent in the third quarter to 0.8 percent in the fourth quarter. Exhibitors slowed from 0.5 percent to 0.2 percent and Revenues which were adjusted for inflation slowed from 1.6 percent to 1.3 percent.

As an objective measure of the annual performance of the exhibition industry, the CEIR Index measures year-over-year changes in four key metrics to determine overall performance: Net Square Feet of Exhibit Space Sold; Professional Attendance; Number of Exhibiting Companies; and Gross Revenue.
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CEIR Report: Attracting Attendees to Exhibitions

The Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) issued a report called Attracting Attendees, which helps readers explore attendee preferences, and understand how best to attract and engage attendees to an exhibition or to visit a booth.

Research results come from a recently completed study that is a repeat and extension of a project last done 10 years ago. It provides valuable up-to-date insights on how to effectively market to attendees and communicate with them at an event. Key findings:

  • Personal discussions are very likely to influence a prospect to attend. Ranking highest in importance for considering whether to attend an exhibition for personal discussion was e-mail from colleagues, followed by word of mouth.
  • Most attendees (94 percent) engage in pre-planning activities, presenting exhibition organizers with opportunities to engage pre-registrants to motivate them to attend. The most popular activities include choosing or registering to attend an education session/workshop (63 percent), searching the exhibitor directory (56 percent) or registering to attend special events (56 percent).
  • When it comes to information sources relied upon when an attendee is at an event, the printed exhibition catalog is still the most used resource, with 70 percent noting they use it. Only 24 percent use a smart phone/mobile version of the program. (This low-usage level may be as much a function of limited availability as it is to preference and merits watching as smart phone and mobile device usage continues to climb.)
  • Over one-half, or 53 percent, rely on information provided by exhibitors, thereby suggesting that exhibition organizers should consider offering exhibitor marketing programs to help boost attendance.

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