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Overall Trade Show Attendance Growing

wholesale merchandise trade shows 1The severe winter weather in much of the U.S. didn’t put a damper on the trade show industry, with the Center for Exhibition Industry Research’s quarterly CEIR Index Report tracking growth to be 4.6 percent in Q1 2015, compared with the same time period in 2014.


It is the highest increase since the second quarter of 2007, in other words, before the recession hit.


"The performance in the first quarter was remarkable considering that the east coast was frequently paralyzed under severe winter weather," said CEIR Economist Allen Shaw, Ph.D., Chief Economist for Global Economic Consulting Associates.


Just a few of the shows that saw impressive results in the first quarter of this year included International CES, held in January in Las Vegas, with more than 176,000 attendees; International Plastics Showcase, held in March in Orlando, with more than 2,000 exhibitors; and World of Asphalt and AGG1 2015, which was held in March in Baltimore, Md., and broke records in attendance, net square footage and exhibitors.



The first quarter of 2015 also marked the 19th consecutive quarter of year-on-year growth.


While the growth of the exhibition industry lagged behind the GDP during most of last three years, the exhibition industry in Q1 2015 outperformed the macro economy as real GDP gained 2.7 percent year-on-year.


CEIR tracks four metrics and the strongest one was in Real Revenues, which rose an impressive 7.3 percent, followed by Net Square Feet – increasing by 4.1 percent.


Exhibitors increased 3.3 percent, while Professional Attendance, which could have been influenced by the severe weather, still rose a relatively strong 3.7 percent.


The industries that saw the most growth were Building, Construction, Home & Repair and Government, both of which had seen particularly challenging times in the past few years.