CIMGlobal Exhibition

Report Reveals Global Exhibition Industry Is a $325 Billion Business

BY ERNIE SMITH

UFI reports that the U.S. and Europe represent the two largest markets for the global exhibition industry, and its impact is strongly felt, according to the group’s analysis.

The expo hall is growing in prominence, and a new report highlights its sheer scope on a global level.

Global Economic Impact of Exhibitions, 2019 Edition, a just-released report from UFI, the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry, finds that exhibitions the world over are responsible for the creation of $325 billion in total economic output, 3.2 million jobs, and $197.5 billion in gross domestic product in 2018 alone.

“Global exhibitions directly generated more output (business sales) than many large global sectors, including machine tools and medical & surgical equipment,” the report said [PDF].

The report is intended to help the industry make clear a big message, according to UFI President Craig Newman: Exhibitions have impact on a massive scale.

“This new data will support us when we talk to stakeholders about our industry, especially as it’s broken down into the direct, measurable economic impact per exhibiting company—right down to the economic value of every single square meter of venue exhibition space,” Newman said in a press release [PDF]. “And on top of that, it makes me proud to work for our industry, knowing that we are securing over three million jobs.”

A few highlights from the report:

Europe sees more visitors, while North America sees more exhibitors. While Europe tends to draw in more visitors on an annual basis at 112 million (compared to North America’s 91.2 million), North America saw more direct spending, at $59.7 billion, compared to Europe’s $46.7 billion. Despite the significantly larger amount of spending in the North American market, only slightly more space was sold in that market (48 million net square meters) compared to Europe (46.5 million). The Asian market represented nearly 20 percent of direct spending and about a quarter of the space sold, while other regions made up less than 10 percent of the overall market.

How much the average exhibitor makes. Based on a global total of 4.5 million exhibitors in 2018, exhibitions generated $71,700 total sales per exhibiting company and $870 per square foot of venue gross indoor exhibition space. North America ranked first with $87,720 in total output per exhibitor, while Europe and Asia-Pacific followed with $81,331 and $55,227 in total output per exhibitor, respectively.

Getting down to the square foot. The North American market has slightly more than half the exhibitor capacity (87.94 million square feet) of the European market (168.99 million) and roughly the same as the Asian market (88.59 million). Despite that, it has an economic output per square foot ($1,596) far above that of other regions—with Asia ($754), Europe ($645), Central and South America ($377), the Middle East ($308), and Africa ($194) trailing behind.

The report, based on research done by UFI and Oxford Economics.

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