According to research conducted by UFI, the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry, show organizers around the globe have a generally positive outlook for the industry, though that is not universally the case as a handful of regions express pronounced concerns not shared by their peers.
In the Asia-Pacific region and Europe, 74 percent of the respondents to UFI’s 19th Global Barometer survey said they will experience increases in business during both halves of 2017 and the first half of 2018. In the Americas, which includes North, South, and Central America, that number fell to 66 percent, and in the Middle East-Africa region, it was just 58 percent. In the United States specifically, the first half of 2017 was reported as particularly grim, with 55 percent saying their overall business increased, while 27 percent said it decreased less than 10 percent and 18 percent said it decreased more than 10 percent.
Operating profits were generally lower in 2016 than 2015, the survey found, though organizers were optimistic that 2017 would see a rebounding of that profitability. In the United States, while just 29 percent of companies saw operating profits greater than 10 percent in 2016, 62 percent said they expect profits to exceed that in 2017.
Globally, an average of 25 percent of respondents named their own country’s economy as the greatest business concern, while competition from within the industry was most often cited as the second highest worry at 21 percent. Tracking with international news headlines of political or civil upheaval, he United Kingdom, Middle East, Russia, Brazil, Thailand, and South Africa expressed the highest degree of concern over the state of the economy in their home markets – from 28 to 34 percent. Though most did not share the same national economic worries as their neighbors, Germany, China, and the Asia-Pacific region in general expressed the highest degree of concern over competition within the industry (26 to 31 percent). Of all regions, the United Kingdom was the only country to indicate particularly high concern over both issues.
UFI has been conducting the Global Barometer survey since 2008. For the latest edition, it tabulated responses from 257 companies in 56 countries. The full report is available at www.ufi.org.