18th Edition UFI Global Exhibition Barometer

By Exhibition and Event Association of Australasia , 7 February, 2017


The Global Barometer survey has been measuring the pulse of the exhibition industry since 2008. The 18th survey, concluded in January 2017, was answered by 240 companies from 54 countries. The results are detailed for 14 geographical zones, including 10 major national markets.

Survey results reveal that despite an ongoing slowdown in global economic growth, and a decline in open trade promoters on the international stage, the exhibition industry remains geared for continued growth in 2017. Answers indicate turnover increases for a majority of companies in 2017, following two years of relatively stable levels of operating profit. The US, Mexico, China and the UK perform above average. Brazil and Russia also indicate a positive trend in turnover, but for 2017 only. In Germany and Italy however, 2017 appears at this stage weaker than 2016.

When asked about the possible impact of recent major political developments (such as the Brexit vote in the UK, the failed coup in Turkey, and the US presidential elections) on international trade and the exhibition industry, 45% of participants globally anticipate a limited or significant negative impact on business. At country level, Mexico (60%) and the US (54%) report the highest degrees of concern. By comparison an average of only one in ten respondents expects recent political developments to have a positive impact on business. On average, 20% anticipate no impact, and 20-30% are unsure.

A core question of UFI’s Global Barometer asks for the “most important business issues” companies are currently facing. As has been the case in recent years “State of the national/regional economy” and “Global economic uncertainty” retain their top positions, yet both items receive slightly less attention than six months ago. In contrast, “Competition from within the industry” has seen a measurable rise in importance, closing the previous gap with the other two top issues. “Impact of digitalisation” receives high relevance in Germany (21%) and most countries in Central and South America (20%).

Covering the strategic outlook of the global exhibition industry, the barometer shows an ongoing expansion in the industry’s business activities globally, both at companies’ home bases and in new geographical markets. A large majority of companies from all regions intend to develop new activities, either in the classic range of exhibition industry activities (venue/organiser/services), or in other live or virtual events, or in both. An average of four out of 10 companies also declare an intention to develop operations in new countries. This figure is particularly high for companies based in the UK (70%), the US (67%) and the Middle East (57%).

Click here to read the full report.

Source: UFI