Brian Casey Interview at ACCESS – Insights on Current and Near-Term Trends Reply

Take a moment to hear CEIR CEO and President Brian Casey, CEM share his insights about the outlook and trends for the exhibition industry at last December’s EDPA annual meeting, ACCESS.

EDPA – Brian Casey, CEM President & CEO, CEIR – Interview at ACCESS2014

Brian’s comments shared at that time about the anticipated performance of the industry are affirmed by the newest CEIR Index, released on April 13, 2015. To learn more, download the newest CEIR Index.

Millennials are the future of the exhibition industry, Brian shares some key traits to pay attention to when looking to accommodate young professional attendee needs and preferences. To obtain a fuller understanding, pull down the full reports here:

2014 Young Professional Attendee Needs and Preferences Study

Best Practices by Exhibition Organizers to Attract and Retain Young Professional Attendees

For those who want a complete perspective of young professional needs and preferences, take a moment to access the newest generational research completed by CEIR with young professional exhibitors: 2015 Young Professional Exhibitor Needs and Preferences Study.

Another Case for Infrastructure Investment Reply

By Cathy Breden, CAE, CMP, Managing Director, Center for Exhibition Industry Research

Jeff Werling, one of CEIR’s economists and the executive director of Inforum/University of Maryland, recently sent me a report his team on behalf of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) concerning infrastructure investment. Jeff and his team compiled a unique and revealing data set on recent infrastructure investment which implies that real investment in public infrastructure has been falling over a decade, and by investing in public infrastructure benefits the economy in the short- and long-term. These findings reinforce the findings of a White Paper recently released by the Association of Equipment Manufacturers.

2014.10.16 CEIR Blog_CEIR Index Figure 11.3 HI RESReading the press release made me look at what the CEIR Index Report says about this sector and the table below says it all. Output (infrastructure investment) and employment are very closely related.

Take a moment to read the press release on NAM’s website.

Infrastructure Investment Creates Positive Outcomes for the Economy… and the Exhibition Industry Reply

Cathy Breden, CAE, CMP, Managing Director, Center for Exhibition Industry Research

Executive Director Jeff Werling, of Inforum at the University of Maryland, and one of CEIR’s economists, recently completed a report for the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM). AEM released a White Paper, “The Economic Footprint of the Construction Equipment Industry on the U.S. Economy.” The paper provides a new and innovative estimate of an industry which includes downstream activities such as transportation and distribution.

The Building, Construction, Home and Repair (HM) Sector is the beginning of the food chain. Watching the HM sector’s performance is an indicator of other things to come – whether we are on an upswing or downswing. Here’s why:

  • Construction Equipment contributed a $57.1 billion economic impact in 2012 and supports 370,000 jobs.
  • Construction machinery impacts productivity of construction itself. The Construction Industries Institute indicates widespread improvement across construction activities from 0.2 percent to 2.8 percent, 1976 through 2004, respectively.
  • Infrastructure investment is now about half (1.5 percent of GDP) of its peak of 3 percent in the late 1960s.
  • Deficient surface transportation infrastructure is projected to reduce cumulative GDP by $900 billion over the next decade.
  • Based on research by Inforum, a $1 billion increase in infrastructure spending will increase GDP by almost $2 billion and create 15,000 jobs in the short run.

The CEIR Index reported that heavy and civil engineering construction, which includes utilities and infrastructure, grew 1.4% in 2011 and 4.0% in 2012, and despite government gridlock and weak public construction spending, employment grew another 2.4% in 2013. Will this growth continue if investment is made in public infrastructure investment?

Tell us what you think!

For more CEIR Index insights relating to the construction sector, download the sector report at the following link: 2014 CEIR Index Report: Building, Construction, Home and Repair Sector (HM).

Same Old, Same Old Just Won’t Cut It – Innovate Your Approach Every Year Reply

By Cathy Breden, CAE, CMP, CEIR Managing Director

Marco Pardi, President of UBM Tech Events and a panelist at the recent CEIR Predict Conference, suggests that exhibitions in the Communications/IT Sector take a cue from “brick and mortar” companies like IBM, SAP, Oracle, Microsoft and HP. “They’re constantly reinventing because they’re competing with new, lifestyle conferences like South by Southwest, which also vie for their core attendee base,” says Pardi.

This is certainly good advice and counsel for any exhibition regardless of industry sector. We must all be thinking about how we create an experience that will make our attendees and exhibitors want to return each year. Every year, we have to be innovative in our approach. We can no longer do the same thing as last year.

Freeman, content curator and a title sponsor for Predict this year, wrote a blog recently on key factors driving growth for events in the technology sector. Regardless of sector, the blog provides a look at key factors for growth which were discussed at Predict. Click here to read the blog.

The Power of PREDICT Reply

By Mary Tucker, CEIR Blog Manager

PREDICT: CEIR’s Annual Exhibition Industry Outlook Conference continues the conversation of where the overall economy is headed and how that will affect the exhibition industry.

Freeman, a title sponsor of Predict, offers further insight into this data on its blog about the event. Cautious optimism is growing as the economy continues its steady movement upwards. The exhibition industry is keeping pace, albeit with slightly smaller numbers in comparison to GDP, but keeping up nonetheless.

Who will come to save the day? According to various panelists at Predict, the Millennials will play a significant role by shaking up the industry through their undeniable power of persuasion. READ ALL ABOUT IT HERE.

Want to see the hard numbers for yourself? Go straight to the source, the CEIR 2014 Index Report: 2013 Exhibition Industry and Future Outlook.

Want to know how to appeal to the Millennials? Check out the 2014 Young Professional Attendee Needs and Preferences Study as well as Best Practices by Exhibition Organizers to Attract and Retain Young Professional Attendees.

Want general information about trends and behavior on the show floor? Look into Exhibition Floor Interaction: What Attendees Want, Cost to Attract Attendees, How to Stop Attendee Loss and CEIR’s newest offering, Once the Conversation is Over – It’s Over!

2014 CEIR Predict Adds Marina Gorbis to Speakers List Reply

By Mary Tucker
CEIR Blog Manager

As CEIR gears up for its fourth annual exhibition industry outlook conference: Predict on 11 September at the Intercontinental Hotel Chicago, Marina Gorbis has been confirmed as the keynote speaker for the program. Gorbis brings an interesting perspective to the information share at Predict because of her background in research related to global economies and social structures.

Gorbis is the executive director of the Institute for the Future (IFTF), a nonprofit research and consulting organization based in Silicon Valley. In her 14 years with IFTF, she has helped hundreds of organizations in business, education, government, and philanthropy to improve innovation capacity, develop strategies, and design new products and services. Her current research focuses on how social production is changing the face of major industries — the subject of her book, The Nature of the Future: Dispatches from the Socialstructed World.

Gorbis’ global approach to research teamed with Predict’s main focal point, the 2014 CEIR Index Report: 2013 Results, and new, journalistic format will provide attendees with a well-rounded picture of what’s predicted for the exhibition industry. More details are available at the Predict website at Registration is now open with early bird registration ending 11 August.

It’s Steam, Not Smoke, on the Horizon: 2014 CEIR Index Report Reply

GES_logo_stacked-name_Sept 2011

By Reagan Cook

Momentum requires a direction and some speed, and our industry has lacked both in the past five years. Fortunately, the 2014 CEIR Index report indicates that momentum is building in the exhibition industry. The report shows there’s more strength in the business sectors, and in years ahead it will look much stronger than 2013’s total industry index.

While it’s true that growth slowed somewhat from 2012 to 2013, the best news is that the Exhibition Industry’s Overall Index is forecasted to double in2014, and stay significantly above that level in 2015 and 2016.

Weakness Continues in Four Sectors

Education and Government sectors still show sustained weakness, which hardly constitutes a surprise, as the federal government continues to struggle with spending and downsizing. The Construction sector, especially homebuilders, is still struggling to recover from the very deep recession, and while growth is returning in some markets, there is much room for improvement.

The surprise comes from the slow growth of the Medical and Health Care sector, which still mystifies analysts because population trends indicate more patients in the near future from the Boomer generation. Speculation holds that growth is subdued because providers continue cost cutting in the face of new rules and shrinking reimbursements.

Growth is a Relative Term

Several CEIR sectors are experiencing, or will experience, very strong growth. Here is the list:

  1. Industrial/Heavy Machinery/Manufacturing, Finance, and Communications and IT consistently top the charts for Index growth from 2014 through 2016.
  • Industrial/Heavy Machinery/Manufacturing grew 6.9% in 2013, based on their CEIR Index, and it should achieve growth over the next three years. That’s sustained growth, and it’s significant.
  • Finance and Communications and IT should grow to indexes between 3.5 and 4.6 through 2016. That’s significantly higher than last year.
  1. Sports and Travel will see growth between 3.8 and 4.0 in 2015 and 2016, respectively.
  2. Food turned up the heat with significant CEIR Index growth last year. It’s projected to drop significantly in 2014 and should see good growth return 2015-2016, but not at the breakout level of 2013.
  3. Consumer Goods, Consumer Services, and Business Services will also expand at different times during the next three years.
  4. Four CEIR sectors grow all three years of the forecast period (Business Services, Consumer Goods, Food and Industrial/Heavy Machinery/Manufacturing).
  5. Eight sectors grew two out of three years, tapering in 2016 (Consumer Services, Finance, Industrial/Heavy Machinery/Manufacturing, Communications and IT, Medical and Healthcare, Raw Materials and Science, Sports and Travel and Travel and Amusement).

Click here to order your copy of the 2014 CEIR Index report and check out our easy to read and review infographic below.

2014.07.08 CEIR Blog_Recovery Graphic

Is your industry on the rise or decline? How do you plan to use this information to your advantage? Share your plans below.

Exhibitions Mean Business – Contributing to the U.S. Economy in Multiple Ways 1

By Nancy Drapeau, PRC, Research Director

On any work day, a business-to-business exhibition is likely taking place somewhere in America. Events come in many shapes and sizes, from small, regional events to the largest in the world. The channel is a mirror image of the diversity of the U.S. economy. Exhibitions exist for farmers, medical professionals, amusement parks, funeral directors, fashion designers, food distributors, scientists, manufacturers of all types, film makers, broadcasters, librarians, the oil patch industry, solar industry and the list goes on. The most recent CEIR Index estimates that in 2013, more than two million organizations exhibited at, and over 68 million professionals attended, business-to-business exhibitions.

Professionals from many walks of life use this channel as a way to come together to keep abreast of current industry trends, see and experience the newest product offerings and technologies, and network to help keep their organizations competitive, as well as for personal professional pursuits. Brand marketers exhibit their wares to visiting professionals on the exhibit floor, generating new leads, maintaining relationships with existing customers, promoting new offerings and ultimately driving business for their organizations.

Exhibitions are magical in my opinion. They are powerful, temporary market places that are built up to last for brief periods of time – from a day to a week or more – depending on the group. At each venue, behind the scenes there is a wide array of service providers that make an event happen from building it up, delivering services while it is in progress and tearing it down to make room for the next event: general service contractors, electricians, carpenters, material handlers, florists, audio visual providers, foodservice vendors, cleaners, etc.

Organizers invest substantially to create and deliver a successful event: marketing and sales efforts to build the market place of exhibitors and attract a community of professional attendees aligned with exhibitor target markets. The organizers also make major investments to assure on-premise event offerings align with attendee and exhibitor expectations, in terms of amenities while participating, and pulling together entertainment and receptions that make them want to come back again and again.

Exhibitors make substantial investments to create and execute a winning exhibit program: building and renovating their booths, designing and producing compelling marketing collateral, giveaways as tokens for visiting their booths that fulfill brand exposure goals, showcasing actual product in the booth, and meaningful product interaction opportunities. All materials need to be shipped to the event and employees sent to staff the booths. On-premise activities may extend beyond the booth to include sponsoring special events, hosting receptions and other entertainment.

So, why do I write this? I wanted to paint a picture of the complexity and depth of activity that happens each time an exhibition is held. There is a robust industry with many players. Expenditures, investments are made by organizers, exhibitors and attendees when participating in an exhibition. The spending impact filters through the U.S. economy in many ways and the total effect is quite substantial.

To provide insight into the scope of the industry’s impact on the U.S. economy, CEIR provides estimates quantifying organizer gross revenues and direct spend estimates for exhibitors and attendees at the U.S. level. As you read below, exhibitions pack a punch, generating revenues that support jobs and provide tax funds:

  • According to the most recent edition of the CEIR Index, in 2013, gross exhibition revenues from business-to-business exhibitions exceeded $11 billion
  • In 2012, exhibitors contributed $24.5 billion to the U.S. economy in direct spending
  • In 2012, attendees contributed $44.8 billion to the U.S. economy in direct spending

For access to the reports cited in this blog, go to:

2014 CEIR Index Report

Exhibitor Direct Spending Estimate

Attendee Direct Spending Estimate


CEIR is a proud supporter of Exhibitions Day happening Tuesday, 17 June in Washington, D.C., and attendees will be prepared with CEIR’s data to voice the key issues we face with their elected officials. For more information about this legislative fly-in, visit


What’s in the CEIR Research Pipeline? 1

By Nancy Drapeau, PRC, Research Director

In this blog post, I’d like to share a quick overview of research reports that have been published to date in 2014, and what is yet to come in the next few months. This year’s research schedule is aggressive as we aim to conduct research in a broad range of areas to help exhibitions continue to keep pace with the evolving needs and preferences of exhibitors and attendees of business-to-business exhibitions in particular.

Reports released so far this year are focused  on  assisting organizers and exhibitors in developing marketing and content offerings to align with attendee needs and preferences. CEIR released the estimated total direct spend impact of exhibitors and attendees on the U.S. economy, documenting substantial economic impact:

The new edition of the CEIR Index is now available. It is the leading industry resource tracking overall market performance of business-to-business exhibitions in the United States. It reports on historical performance from 2000 to 2013 as well as providing a three-year forecast. Metrics tracked include: number of exhibitors, net square footage, number of attendees and revenues. No other resource offers such a valuable tool to assist in strategic planning and evaluating business development opportunities.

In the next several months keep a watch for more focus reports from the What Attendees Want from Trade Exhibition series. Additionally, data is forthcoming on benchmark data for organizers and statistics to help sell the value of exhibiting. Insights are also coming soon on best practices organizers are engaging in to effectively market to young professionals. Here’s a list of reports to come:

  • Attendee Preferences by Level in Organization
  • Cost to Attract Attendees
  • Floor Interaction Preferences Study
  • Generational Workforce Shift Study Report
  • Staggering Stats Update
  • Cost Effectiveness of Exhibiting


Nancy Drapeau, PRC, Research Director

Nancy Drapeau, PRC, Research Director

What’s in the Secret Sauce that Makes Exhibitions Resilient? 1

By Nancy Drapeau, PRC CEIR Research Director

This week the new edition of the CEIR Index was released. Results reveal that the business-to-business exhibitions channel continues to grow incrementally, in parallel with slow growth of the U.S. economy. And growth in the near-term future is anticipated to accelerate. The Index has tracked the performance of the channel since 2000. In looking at the peaks and troughs of the industry, there is a parallel relationship between the exhibition channel performance and US GDP, as shown in the chart below.




History reveals the exhibition channel weathers each economic storm, it recovers when the clouds clear. So what makes the channel resilient, what’s the secret sauce?

Two white papers offer insights on what keeps exhibitors and attendees coming back.

White Paper – Aligning Exhibitions With What Attendees Want Most

Factors Behind the Resiliency of Business-To-Business Exhibitions


The ‘secret sauce’ is delivering the right mix of content and people for both exhibitors and attendees so they achieve their objectives for investing their organization’s money and their time to be there, basically, delivering ROI.

  • For exhibitors, this means delivering the right mix of the brand marketer’s target audience to the exhibition that enables the company to meet multiple marketing and sales objectives with both existing and prospective clients. It is always first and foremost about the quality of attendance.


  • For attendees, this means delivering the right mix of offerings that enable an attendee to achieve multiple shopping and learning objectives. First and foremost, shopping is the primary focus, including interest in in seeing new product technology, interacting with new products and having a chance to interact with the people behind the products. They also aim to achieve multiple learning objectives, both in accessing learning opportunities made available by an event or in an exhibitor’s booth, but also from their peers through networking. Exhibitions that are known to deliver the industry ‘under one roof’ offer the most compelling value proposition.

To obtain specific insights, take a minute to download the white papers above.

To pull down the most current edition of the Index, go to: