Exhibition industry impacted by slowing global economic growth

The global exhibition industry has seen a weaker first half in 2019 in terms of revenue growth compared to 2018, according to UFI’s latest edition of its Global Barometer.

With regard to operating profit, 80 per cent of companies maintained a good level of performance in 2018, and more than 40 per cent of companies from all regions declared an increase of more than 10 per cent compared to 2017. However, the prospects for 2019 are currently lower globally, in line with the worldwide slowdown of economic growth.

While a majority of companies in all regions, with the exception of Middle East/Africa, expect an increase in gross turnover for the two halves of 2019 and the first half of 2020, the first half of 2019 appears to be weaker compared to recent years.

However, current forecasts for the second half of 2019 and the first half of 2020 show a return to robust levels. Australia is among eight of the surveyed countries and regions who have, for all three periods surveyed, a majority of companies declaring turnover increases. The others are Brazil, Italy, Japan, South Africa, Thailand, the UK and the US. For the second half of 2019 and the first half of 2020, this is also the case for India, Indonesia, Germany, Macau and Russia.

Results also indicate that the top business issue within the industry remains the “State of the national/regional economy” (24 per cent), ahead of “Competition within the industry” and “Global economic developments” (19 per cent).

The barometer also includes a section on the state of digital conversion within the industry. The results show a “Digitisation Implementation Index” of 27, indicating that the commitment towards digitisation is not wholly spread.

“Exhibitions mirror markets, therefore a slowdown in global economic growth also affects the exhibition industry, as this latest edition of our UFI Global Barometer shows,” said Kai Hattendorf, UFI’s managing director/CEO.

“But the data also proves that exhibitions are not just resilient, but show a consistently strong performance and growth opportunities in many core markets around the world.”