UFI’s 19th Global Barometer Indicates Global Exhibition Industry Growth


UFI’s 19th Global Barometer Indicates Global Exhibition Industry Growth

The 19th Global Barometer survey for the second half of 2017 was recently released by UFI, the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry; it reports that, on average, the exhibition industry trade show companies worldwide are showing growth with an increase in turnover and rising profits. However, a significant level of uncertainty is forecast for the second half of 2017 in the Middle East and Africa with fewer companies expecting an increase in turnover.

Conducted in June 2017, UFI’s study was answered by 257 companies from 56 countries. The outlook remains positive with the majority of companies across all regions declaring turnover increases since 2011. However in South Africa, compared to 58 percent of companies declaring an increase for the first half of 2017, only 32 and 50 percent of the companies declared an increase in turnover for the next two halves. South African companies declaring an increase of more than 10% in annual operating profits have also decreased from 39 percent in 2016 to 15 percent in 2017, with the majority of companies indicating that their operating profits are stable.

When asked about their top business issues, the “State of the national/regional economy” was considered most important, with 25 percent of all respondents naming this as a top business issue, and also most major exhibition markets. It scored the highest in South Africa (34%) and Brasil (33%). “Competition from within the industry,”  “Global economic developments,” and “internal challenges,” respectively were considered the four most important business issues globally. Where “Human resources” was found to be the most important aspect of the internal challenges. The study also indicated that Venues, Organisers and Service providers identified the “State of the economy in home market” as their biggest issue.

With digitisation accelerating in businesses around the world, this edition of the Global Barometer also focused on the state of digital activity in the exhibition industry, providing for the first time ever an overview of activities in this field on a global level. Results show that the while the majority of companies have responded to the accelerating process of digitisation in the exhibition industry, with the U.K., Germany,  China, and the U.S. the most active in the digital transformation. South Africa however, has showed slow progress in digital transformation ranked second last on the global index. Only 41 percent of South African companies have added additional digital services/products compared to 65 percent globally, and 36 percent of South African companies have changed internal work processes compared to 55 percent globally.

The next global barometer survey will be conducted in December 2017. Visit the UFI website to view the full results.