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Center for Exhibition Industry Research

CEIR releases 2010 Index now available at

The Center for Exhibition Industry Research has released the CEIR Index, an Analysis of the 2009 Exhibition Industry and Future Outlook. The 2010 Index reveals a year-over-year decline of 12.5 percent, four times greater than any prior year. Hope for recovery for the exhibitions and events industry is tinged with cautious optimism and the factors necessary for that recovery are explained in detail in CEIR’s newest Index publication.

More than 300 business-to-business exhibitions contributed data for this report. As an objective measure of the annual performance of the exhibition industry, the CEIR Index measures year-over-year changes in four key metrics to determine overall performance: Net Square Feet, Attendees, Exhibitors, and Revenue.

CEIR President and CEO Douglas L. Ducate, presenting the top level findings and outlook at the SISO CEO Forum on Monday, 12 April, said, "The 2010 edition of the CEIR Index represents a major step toward making it a more predictive tool for our industry. Exhibition industry stakeholders at all levels owe it to themselves to read at least the Overall sector."

Gary Shapiro, president & CEO, Consumer Electronics Association/CES, said, "2010 is our opportunity year. After a challenging 2009, we can benefit from the U.S. government’s new focus on growing exports by positioning our shows as opportunities to expand international exports."

The 2009 quarterly results for the overall exhibition industry (per the four Index metrics) reflected the quarterly pattern of the U.S. GDP, as the industry contracted over each of the first three quarters of the year, down 4.5 percent in Q1, 8.8 percent in Q2 and 11.1 percent in Q3, before rising 17.7 percent in Q4. However, on a year-over-year basis, Q4 2009 was down 8.9 percent versus Q4 2008. Additionally, all four key industry metrics declined in Q4 2009 versus Q4 2008: NSF, Exhibitors, Attendees and Revenue were down 12.3 percent, 5.8 percent, 4.1 percent, and 13.2 percent, respectively. All 11 industry sectors measured by the CEIR Index declined in 2009. The Government, Public and Nonprofit Services sector was the best performing sector, having declined only 0.4 percent in 2009 versus 2008.

"The CEIR Index has grown from an interesting read at its beginning 10 years ago to an important barometer for the health of the exhibitions industry. Based on the Index’s most recent results, it would appear the industry has reached a bottom and should show marginal improvement over the next 12 to 24 months. That being said, it is unfortunate that the current economic downturn has returned the overall Index to its baseline levels, last seen when the Index started in 2000," said Galen Poss, partner, G2 & Associates.

The 2010 Index features overall industry analysis of contributing economists from The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Travel & Tourism Industry Center at the University of South Carolina and The Jordan, Edmiston Group, Inc. (JEGI). In addition, 2009 performance in all eleven Index sectors is individually examined, and each sector includes an outlook for 2010.  The 2010 Index offers an in-depth exploration of how and why particular economic indicators, employment and personal spending habits may dictate future exhibition industry performance.

Veris Consulting, a leading exhibition industry research consultancy, collected the data from the more than 300 events and created the CEIR Index results. Trade Show Executive, an award-winning magazine covering the trade show industry, provided design elements for the final report.  Other contributors to the CEIR Index included: American Business Media (ABM); the Exhibition Industry Foundation (EIF); the International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE); the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA); and the Society of Independent Show Organizers (SISO).