The Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) announced that data collected for the annual CEIR Index report for the third quarter of 2010 indicates positive growth in all metrics for the first time since the first quarter of 2008. The now broken string of nine consecutive quarters of negative growth was an industry record surpassing the seven consecutive quarters between 2001 and 2003.
The CEIR Index, released in April, reported that the leading indicator to look for in the exhibition industry recovery is an increase in professional attendance. Professional attendance began showing improvement in the second quarter and continues to lead improvement with 6.6 percent growth over the same period in 2009. Both net square feet of exhibit space sold and number of exhibiting companies show 5.2 percent growth over the same period in 2009. Projected revenue also showed positive growth of 5.6 percent over the same period in 2009.
“After a record setting nine consecutive quarters of negative quarter over quarter performance, the third quarter of the 2010 CEIR Index reports all four metrics show improvement over the third quarter of 2009,” said Doug Ducate, CEM, CMP, CEIR president and CEO. “This is most welcome news and tends to confirm some of the anecdotal reports we have reviewed. It should be noted that the third quarter is historically the weakest of the four quarters and has had the greatest decline. The test will be to see if this positive trend continues into the fourth quarter of 2010 and then the all important first quarter of 2011.”
The fourth quarter of 2010 and first quarter of 2011 will be an indicator of a true recovery for the exhibition industry. Watch for retail sales over the holiday shopping season to be an indicator of continuing economic recovery.
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.
Exhibit Booth Recall Effectiveness
Research released by the CEIR provides insights into the recall factors of attendees being able to remember a particular exhibit on the show floor. The study is an update to a report Most Memorable Exhibits: An Analysis of the Factors Affecting Exhibit Recall, published in 2000.
Memorability is important to an exhibitor because studies have shown that it can influence purchasing decisions that are initiated at a later time, and it builds long-term brand awareness equities as well. Serious buyers also appear to depend on booth recall as a valuable information base.
The size of the booth, as might be expected, continues to be an automatic recall factor for several reasons:
• Larger booths are typically well-known companies;
• Larger booth size physical dominance and visibility is memorable;
• Repeated exposure that results from anchor positions in the highest floor-traffic streams reinforces recall.
Small exhibits, however, can also be successful if attendees have an interest in the displayed products, there is effective pre-show promotion and booth staffs have the skills to engage attendees.
Other factors to be considered with attendees being able to recall a booth include company recognition, product demonstrations, stage/theater presentations, booth personnel, color/design of the booth, giveaways and literature. A comparison of two decades of data indicates that the effectiveness of the personnel staffing the booth is gaining importance, as is product demonstrations, which is indicative of the trend for exhibitors being able to engage with buyers.