This past year was a busy one for the trade show industry, especially after making it through one of the worst recessions in U.S., and global, history.
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TSNN also launched a news section completely devoted to event technology called TSNN Tech Corner on which there are stories on just about every aspect of the newest bells and whistles available to the trade show industry.
This year kicked off with the 11th straight quarter of consecutive growth for the U.S. trade show history, as tracked by the Center for Exhibition Industry Research. Though there was an increase in the first quarter of 2013 and the three subsequent quarters of the year, the growth slowed considerably year-over-year and lagged behind GDP.
In other words, we made it through the recession just fine, but that doesn’t mean we’re completely in the clear.
At the annual CEIR Predict conference, held in September in New York City, Bain & Company’s Austin Kim opened the one-day event with a session that took a look at the overall global economic outlook.
“The global economy is still in a wrenching readjustment that has been building for three decades,” Kim said.
Some major shifts he pointed out that started in 1980 included the doubling of the labor force worldwide (driven by China), as well as Baby Boomers in the U.S. hitting their consumption peak in 2010, meaning they will be spending less.
He added that “developing markets in general are facing the pop of a multi-year bubble with China at the middle.”
The Eurozone, though, seemed to be in for the bumpiest ride since, according to Kim, the worst problems there won’t even materialize until the end of this decade.
Even with the caution flags being thrown, this year marked several shows not only scoring impressive attendance increases, but also a lot of them actually broke records, including PMMI’s Pack Expo Las Vegas, Global Pet Expo, CEA’s International CES and SFA’s Summer Fancy Food Show, to name a few.
Shows in specific niche sectors also did well, such as Hart Energy’s DUG East Show for the shale industry, which saw a 30-percent attendance jump at its show in Pittsburgh.
So, even if the overall trade show industry is experiencing slowing growth, there still are plenty of shows bringing in record crowds.
Another interesting development this year was a new show-ownership model emerging here in the U.S., with convention and visitors bureaus, including Houston’s and Boston’s, taking stakes in shows.
The Greater Houston Convention & Visitors Bureau and Messe Duesseldorf North America will partner to launch Medical World Americas April 28-30 at Houston’s George R. Brown Convention Center.
Germany-based Messe Duesseldorf organizes MEDICA, the world’s largest annual medical trade fair, with more than 4,500 exhibitors and 130,000 attendees, which Medical World Americas will be modeled after, according to show management.
Greg Ortale, GHCVB president and CEO, said that Medical World Americas, as well as Total Energy USA, another show they are invested in, are part of an overall strategy the bureau is committed to focusing on going forward.