Slowly, but surely, the rebound continues for the exhibition industry.
Close to 25 percent of attendees and exhibitors surveyed at events this year expect to visit more business-to-business events over the next two years, according to a new report issued by the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR).
“Attendee and exhibitor practices today, as well as their expected participation in the near-term, points to the resiliency and enduring value of B-to-B exhibitions,” said CEIR Research Director Nancy Drapeau in a statement. “Despite economic challenges and alternative marketing options, these professionals use and value exhibitions and plan to do so in the next two years."
Survey results from more than 10,000 domestic and international attendees and exhibitors revealed that most believe the market is growing steadily and will continue to do so over the next two years.
While 23 percent of attendees say they will plan to attend more B-to-B events in the near future, close to 90 percent already visit more than one event per year and 20 percent go to five or more. On average, attendees visit 3.4 exhibitions each year, roughly the same amount as they did in 2002 (3.5)
Overwhelmingly, the most common reason for attendance was to find new products and vendors. That was the explanation for more than 80 percent of this year’s respondents, and, according to the report, it’s been that way for the last quarter century.
Just 10 percent of the total group surveyed said they would attend fewer events in the near future. They cited rising costs, declining budgets and concerns about the economy as the main reasons to consider going to fewer events or none at all. Interestingly though, only 4.2 percent felt that the information they could get at the exhibition would be readily available elsewhere, such as on the Internet.
On the exhibitor side, 24 percent of company representatives surveyed believe they’ll increase the number of events they attended over the next two years. More than two-thirds expect booth sizes to remain the same though.
Exhibitors currently attend an average of 16.5 events per year. Three-quarters of exhibitor respondents attend more than two events annually, while 14 percent exhibited at more than 20.