The U.S. tradeshow industry will experience modest growth this year, with steam picking up in 2014 and 2015—unless there are changes in Washington, D.C. In that case, the picture is much rosier.
That was the forecast released by the Center for Exhibition Industry and Research (CEIR) on Thursday at its annual Predict Conference in New York City.
CEIR economists offered a primary forecast predicting a 1.1-percent increase in its index of metrics evaluating the tradeshow industry in 2013, 2.1-percent growth in 2014 and 3.2-percent growth in 2015. A second “alternative” forecast was also created in the case that President Barack Obama and the U.S. Congress complete a “grand bargain” that would restore some of the federal spending slashed earlier this year.
Given that boost of private sector confidence, the outlook is much rosier as CEIR would predict an alternative 2.1-percent growth this year, followed by 2.7-percent growth next year. Both forecasts, however, project the same 3.2-percent upswing across the board in 2015.
The biggest difference in the two forecasts deals with real revenue. While CEIR economists predict the tradeshow industry will generate $11.8 billion by 2015, that number jumps by nearly $300 million if the elusive “grand bargain” can be reached in Washington, D.C.
According to the baseline forecast, shows serving the financial sector and the homebuilding industries will have the best performances in 2013 with 4.3-percent growth in the former and 3.4-percent growth in the latter. Tradeshows in the government and education sectors will suffer most with government-related shows declining 2.4 percent and education shows falling 2.5 percent in 2013.
According to CEIR’s more optimistic alternative forecast, exhibitions that serve the consumer and investment sector would benefit the most. Government and education sector shows would still decline in 2013, but at a lower rate. Education-related shows might even see increases by 2015.