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The Value of Research to Inform Decisions


Over the past two years industry professionals have learned the value of resilience and adaptation. There have been many studies published on the impact of COVID to the exhibitions and events industry. As the exhibitions industry continues the trajectory of recovery, research data can help organizers better understand the evolving marketplace. Data cuts through subjectivity and can help solve problems. There is a lot of talk about whether exhibitors will return, and if so, when. What about attendees?

We know from CEIR research that 2019 was a peak performance year – B2B exhibitions contributed $1 Billion to U.S. GDP – and 2020 was a year of nothing. In 2021 shows struggled to move forward and many either outright cancelled, rescheduled, or went digital or hybrid (combination of digital and in-person). 

The CEIR Index Report measures the performance of US B2B exhibitions, overall and across 14 industry sectors. The Index is a geometric average of four metrics:  Net Square Feet of paid space (NSF), number of exhibiting companies, number of professional attendees, and inflation-adjusted organizer gross revenues. CEIR has been measuring performance for 20 years,  collecting data directly from the organizers (the information is held in strict confidence). 

CEIR’s economist, Dr. Allen Shaw, builds his forecasts based on the information provided. Why is this important? Show organizers can measure the performance of their shows against others in their sector, their competitive peer set, as well as the industry overall. 
Might this opportunity apply to you? Do you have a need to manage expectations for performance of your show(s) to your boards or shareholders? If you have the data to help inform and monitor your show’s outcomes against industry benchmarks, would it help with your planning? 

Consider providing your show’s data to CEIR. You will receive your market sector information, along with the overall industry information as provided in the CEIR Index Sector report, at no cost. For more information, contact CEIR. 

Another opportunity to explore is creating a confidential Event Performance Analyzer account where you input your data and instantly generate charts that visualize your event’s performance to CEIR Index sector benchmarks. This is another free resource. For organizers submitting their data for a valid US trade show, you will also receive a complimentary copy of your CEIR Index Sector report. Click here for more information on how to get started. 

The good news is the U.S. B2B exhibitions industry is projected to fully recover by the end of 2023, performing almost as well as the forecasted 2.9 percent growth in U.S. GDP.  

Our guest author is Cathy Breden, CMP, CAE, CEM. She is an industry expert and the CEO of the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR). Connect with Cathy on LinkedIn.