Healthy UK exhibition industry spurs positive outlook for 2017

An annual report recently published by the UFI (the global association of the exhibitions industry), indicates healthy growth within the global exhibitions industry and indeed within the UK sector.

The UFI’s Barometer report began in 2009, and uses biannual survey data from real businesses in the industry to evaluate economic trends and industry patterns. The research surveys organisers, venues and service providers connected to the UFI via a number of regional bodies. Members of the UK’s AEO (Association of Exhibition Organisers) contribute to the survey.

So what’s the industry telling us?

– Collective growth for the UK

To put it simply, the growth is real for players in UK trade shows and events.

70-80% of businesses predict an increase in turnover for 2017 compared to the previous year.

Interestingly, very similar figures were found for most other European countries, with the exception of Germany (perhaps due to a 2016 trade fair boom), and Italy.

In terms of 2017 profits, more than half of businesses in the UK predict an increase of more than 10% on the previous year.

– Global economic trends front of mind

It seems that for events professionals, especially the UK, Global economic developments are seen as one of the most important business issues. When compared to the rest of the world, more UK businesses reported this as a key issue for them. Competition within the industry and the state of the economy in the home market were also seen as important – much more so than issues such as the impact of digitisation or regulatory changes.

– Little optimism over political developments

Whether you attribute it to Brexit, The US elections or other political events, the UFI’s report seems to indicate that we are by no means optimistic about their impact on the industry.

40% predict impact of recent political developments to be negative.

It’s important to note however, that a significant proportion were simply unsure whether recent politics would affect their businesses. At a global level, trade show professionals in Mexico and the United States displayed the biggest concerns about politics – but we’ll let you draw your own conclusions!

Overall The UFI concluded another positive year for the industry, and we’re happy to report the same. We’ll be looking ahead to future reports to help gauge patterns.

“Covering the strategic outlook of the global exhibition industry, the barometer shows an ongoing expansion in the industry’s business activities globally, both at companies’ home bases and in new geographical markets. A large majority of companies from all regions intend to develop new activities, either in the classic range of exhibition industry activities (venue/organiser/services), or in other live or virtual events, or in both.” – UFI 18th Global Exhibition Barometer report.

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