UFI: Industry is Bouncing Back

Wednesday, 27.07.2022

UFI, the global association of the exhibition industry, has released the latest edition of its Global Exhibition Barometer research, which surveys the industry to assess market sentiment.

The latest UFI Global Exhibition Barometer indicates that the industry is recovering. Photo: iStockphoto/jotily

Concluded in June 2022, the 29th edition of the bi-annual study includes data from more than 350 companies across nearly 60 countries and regions, and outlooks as well as analysis for 23 focus countries and regions – including the US, Australia, Singapore, Japan, China, Germany, Italy, Spain, Turkey, and the UK.

The results highlight the increased pace of the industry’s recovery in 2022, after the continuing impact of Covid-19 throughout 2021. The sector is bouncing back quickly, and revenues for the first half of 2023 are expected to reach 87 per cent of comparable 2019 levels (noting that 2019 has been the industry’s record year to date).

In terms of operations, around six in ten companies are reporting “normal activity” – up from just three in ten, six months ago. By the end of the year, seven in ten companies expect to be operating at normal levels.

When asked what elements are most crucial to supporting the “bounce-back” of exhibitions, six in ten companies selected “Lifting of current travel restrictions” and “Readiness of exhibiting companies and visitors to participate again”.

In terms of 2022 operating profits, 25 per cent of companies globally are expecting either a loss, or a reduction of more than 50 per cent, compared to 2019 levels. Overall, 73 per cent of companies received no public financial support during the pandemic, and for the majority of those that did, financial public aid represented less than 10 per cent of their overall costs.

“The bounce-back of exhibitions around the world has entered its next phase, and pre-COVID levels will be within reach as early as next year in some markets,” says Kai Hattendorf, Managing Director and CEO at UFI. “As the industry manages this amazing recovery, it is also dealing with significant staffing challenges, and is working to apply key learning from the pandemic around the digitisation of events and services into its business model.”

Click here for downloading the full report.