The global exhibition industry saw its revenues drop by 68 percent in 2020 compared to 2019, the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry – UFI announced recently.
This result is based on updated regional data provided in the UFI Global Exhibition Barometer, which indicates that 2020 revenues represented only 23 percent of those in 2019 in Central and South America, rising to 24 percent in the Middle East and Africa, 27 percent in the Asia-Pacific region, 32 percent in Europe and 36 percent in North America.
Exhibitions have a direct impact on numerous sectors in the regions where they take place – not just the exhibition industry (venues, organisers and service providers), but all related sectors, such as accommodation, restaurants and transport.
Taking all of these sectors into account, it is estimated that a minimum of 200 billion euros of total exhibition-related output was not generated in 2020, including 80 billion euros in North America, 65 billion euros in Europe and 46 billion euros in the Asia-Pacific region.
This equates to 2.4 million full-time jobs affected globally.
Meanwhile, exhibiting companies use face-to-face events to generate contacts that lead to business either at or soon after the event, and the non-tenure of most exhibitions in 2020 has led to an estimated 330 billion euros of business volume affected.
While a small fraction of that loss may have been compensated for specific sectors, with the development of purely digital solutions, the net impact remains very high.
“Covid-19 has had a significant impact on the exhibition industry, as well as those sectors who benefit from face-to-face events. The impact has not just been felt by exhibitors, who showcase their products and develop their sales, but also by those involved in ‘tourism-related’ activities,” UFI Managing Director and CEO Kai Hattendorf said.
“We all look forward to the lifting of current restrictions and the rebound of our economies, where exhibitions will play an important role,” he added.