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New UFI research shows synchronised global growth for exhibition industry

by Stuart Wood

UFI, the global association for the exhibition industry, has released the latest edition of its flagship Global Barometer research.

One of its key findings is that, for the first time in the past ten years, all four global regions have reported positive turnover development simultaneously.

This latest edition of UFI’s semi-annual industry survey was concluded in July 2018 and includes data from a record 312 companies in 55 countries.

In terms of operating profit, most companies maintained a good level of performance in 2017, and more than 40% of companies from all regions declared an increase of more than 10% compared to 2016.

Kai Hattendorf, managing director for UFI, says: “We are pleased to see that the growth for 2018, anticipated 6 months ago, appears to be confirmed, and that this is the case in all regions of the world.

At the same time, geopolitical uncertainty and specific industry shifts lead to cautious expectations in terms of profits. We also notice that a wide range of companies around the world are embracing the digitisation of our industry.”

Regarding turnover for the two halves of 2018 and the first half of 2019, all four global regions report that a majority of companies declare an increase in turnover. In terms of operating profit, 44% of companies from all regions declared an increase of more than 10% for 2017 compared to 2016.

When companies were asked about their top business issues, they reported four main concerns: state of the economy in home market, competition from within the industry, global economic developments, and internal challenges.

Digitisation was another trend. 64% of survey participants reported that they have added digital services/products like apps, digital advertising, or digital signage around exhibitions. 54% said they have changed internal processes and workflows to be more digital.

The UK was identified as the second most digitised exhibition market, second only to Germany.

The full results can be downloaded at www.ufi.org/research.

The next UFI Global Barometer Survey will be conducted in December 2018.

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