Industry Global Markets Are Changing

When is the last time you looked past our shores to find new opportunities in the exhibition industry? UFI (the Global Association of Exhibition Industry) released its 2011 World Map of Exhibition Venues, which not only touches on the number of venues and events worldwide, but the companies putting on these events. How could these findings possibly affect your business?  They equal new and unchartered business opportunities and illustrate how the global exhibition and event industry is changing.  Identified in their findings are 1,197 venues with a minimum of 5,000 square meters (54,000 square feet) of indoor exhibition space (the total of all venues’ is 32.6 million square meters or 351 million square feet).

Not only are these numbers pretty impressive, but they’ve consistently shown growth over the past few years, despite the global economic downturn. Let me quickly break down the numbers for you to pique your interest. Since 2006, there have been 57 more venues added to the list with an overall growth of of 3.4 million square meters or 36.5 million square feet. One fundamental stat that illustrates the growing importance of China’s exhibition industry is that China itself accounts for almost half of the global increase, with 69 percent of its increase relating to new venue construction.  When the majority of growth is related on a single market it should certainly cause you to take notice. We know Asia, and more specifically China, is growing fast. This could mean that penetrating that market at this rapid stage of growth is probably a smart idea (hint, hint).

Although the Asian market has seen a spike in the growth of venues, the highest venue capacities of 2011 were still in Europe and North America (no surprise here). UFI’s report then breaks it down by country, which is imperative for someone that, like me, is traveling constantly and looking for opportunities around the world. Accounting for 59 percent of the 2011 total world indoor exhibition space are the following countries: China, France, Germany, Italy and the United States. So five countries still dominate total global venue capacity.

Those findings pulled me in and I couldn’t stop reading and jotting down notes to share with coworkers so I moved onto to their 2011 Global Exhibition Industry Statistics. There were approximately 30,700 exhibitions that took place in 2010 with about 103 million net square meters or 1,110,000,000 billion square feet of exhibition space. Their data revealed that these events estimated 2.8 million direct exhibiting companies and attracted more than 260 million visitors. A key figure that caught my attention was that there was a 2 percent shift of the global market share in terms of space rented from Europe to the Asia-Pacific region.

This final data drove the message home to me. Our industry is continuing to flourish and not just on the shores of the U.S., but throughout the world. Is your company planning to exhibit or hold its next exhibition on a new continent? Share your opinions on why our readers’ companies should too on our LinkedIn group!

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