Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

April 19 2016

The Exhibition Industry’s Bright Road Ahead

Staci Wuokko



While some Presidential candidates issue dire warnings of stock market crashes on the horizon, new numbers from the Center for Exhibition Industry Research paint a much brighter picture for the US economy. According to the 2016 CEIR Index Report, US GDP is on track for three consecutive years of growth. By 2018, the report predicts nearly three percent annual GDP growth, and those numbers will carry over to exhibition halls.

“This performance represents the fastest sustained growth in the history of the CEIR index,” CEIR Economist Allen Shaw, Ph.D., Chief Economist for Global Economic Consulting Associates, Inc., said. “By 2018, the total index of the overall exhibition industry is expected to climb above its previous peak in 2007 by about 3.5 percent.”

The CEIR Index predicts that more consumers will be spending more money, which translates to especially positive news for any trade show organizer involved in consumer-related shows in food and sporting goods, travel and amusement and discretionary consumer goods and services. Additionally, the expansion of housing, auto sales and business fixed investments will translate to growth for shows in home and repair, communications and IT and transportation.

What The Election Means For The Economy

While CEIR’s forecast gives most professionals in the trade show industry a reason to smile, there is one impossible prediction: the outcome of the US elections in November. “This [election], we’ve got a lot of uncertainties,” Mary Ann Bartels, Head of Merrill Lynch Wealth Management Portfolio Strategy, says. “And if there’s one thing markets hate, it’s uncertainty.”

From international trade agreements to minimum wage hikes to immigration reforms, this election cycle will debate a number of issues that will have a direct impact on the economic outlook. CEIR will update the numbers in the index closer to the election when leaders from the trade show industry come together in Washington, D.C. for CEIR Predict. Learn more and register for the conference here.

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