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, according to the recent 18th UFI Global Barometer survey.
The survey results 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 markets are forecasted to perform above average this year while Brazil and Russia indicate a positive trend in turnover for 2017 only. Germany and Italy are positioned to be weaker than last year.
The largely positive mood however, has been dampened by recent major political developments, such as the Brexit vote in the UK, the failed coup in Turkey, and the US presidential elections. Forty-five per cent of participants globally anticipate a limited or significant negative impact on business, while at a country level, Mexico (60 per cent) and the US (54 per cent) report the highest degrees of concern.
Topping the list of business issues again this year are, “state of the national/regional economy” and “global economic uncertainty”. Also, “competition from within the industry” has seen a rise in importance, and “impact of digitalisation” received high relevance in Germany (21 per cent) and most countries in Central and South America (20 per cent).
The barometer also indicates an ongoing expansion in the industry’s business activities globally with a majority of companies intending to develop new activities, either in the classic range of exhibition industry activities (venue/organiser/services), or in other live or virtual events, or both. An average of four out of 10 companies are also planning to develop operations in new countries with figures particularly high for companies based in the UK (70 per cent), the US (67 per cent) and the Middle East (57 per cent).
“Some economists are predicting that the exhibition industry will outperform the global economy in its growth rate in 2017,” said Kai Hattendorf, UFI managing director. “The data in this research underlines the need for organisers, venues and service providers to remain flexible and alert.”
This latest edition of UFI’s biannual industry survey includes data from 240 companies in 54 countries. The study delivers outlooks and analysis on 10 major markets: Brazil, China, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, Thailand, the UK and the US, as well as four aggregated regional zones.