The Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) announced the results of its final 2009 CEIR Index report, which indicate that industry declined 12.5 percent. Last year’s loss is four times greater than the largest previous loss of 3.1 percent in 2008.
“The length, depth, and reach of this recession made resistance impossible,” said CEIR president and CEO Douglas L. Ducate. “The concern today is not for what happened in 2008 and 2009, but what the outlook is for the industry over the next several years and for what organizers can do to strengthen their events.”
Although all four CEIR Index metrics of measurement — net square feet (-12.3 percent), revenue (-13.2 percent), professional attendance (-4.1 percent), and number of exhibiting companies (-5.8 percent) — saw declines in the fourth quarter of 2009, those declines were less severe than in past quarters, according to CEIR, suggesting the start of a modest recovery.
“Since the exhibition and events industry for the most part is a trailing indicator, it will take time and a genuine economic recovery before the industry experiences sustained growth,” CEIR concluded in a statement. “Once a genuine economic recovery occurs, if the industry follows past patterns, the recovery will be swift. Notably, the industry’s previous decline ended with the second quarter of 2003. By the end of 2004, the exhibitions and events industry performance had returned to pre-2000 levels.”