Stability Ahead for Expo Industry

It’s “steady as she goes” for expos in 2014, according to a recent survey by the Professional Convention Management Association. The industry stabilized last year and will continue to do so as shows are forecasting minimal changes over the next 12 months.

Nearly 45 percent of the survey respondents say attendance at expos grew in 2013, with an average increase of 3.4 percent. Conversely, 21 percent report lower attendance last year when compared to 2012.

The future looks a little brighter. While about the same number of respondents are forecasting growth in 2014—41 percent think attendance will increase this year—many more are predicting stability. More than half believe their attendance will stay the same, with just 7 percent expecting a decline. On average, shows are expecting a 3.3-percent increase.

Growth has been slower in exhibitor sales. One-third of the survey’s respondents say their exhibitor totals were up in 2013, with 21 percent reporting declines. Exhibitor numbers were unchanged for almost half of the group.

Even more think things will stay the same in 2014, with 63 percent expecting no change. Respondents with a positive outlook (29 percent) outnumber those with a negative outlook (8 percent) by more than 3-to-1 though. Overall, shows are expecting 2.3-percent growth in exhibitor numbers.

Average event square footage was down from 124,000 in 2012 to 108,000 in 2013, according to the report.

The report is based on 410 responses from event professionals in the association, corporate and independent markets.

Posted by Michael Rondon

Michael Rondon is a senior editor for Expo. Reach him @Mike_Rondon or View all articles by Michael Rondon →