The results of the latest edition of the UFI Global Barometer
highlight the severe impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the exhibition industry worldwide, in 2020. But there are also positive signs regarding a quick recovery in 2021. Looking ahead to 2021, the share of companies expecting a return to “normal” activity is expected to grow from 10% in January to 37% in June. These results vary depending on region, and are primarily driven by the “re-opening date” of exhibitions. In all regions, most companies expect both local and national exhibitions to re-open by the end of June 2021, with international exhibitions resuming in the second half of the year. When asked what element would most help with the “bounce back” of exhibitions, the majority of companies, ranked “readiness of exhibiting companies and visitors to participate again” (64%), “lift of current travel restrictions” (63%) and “lift of current public policies that apply locally to exhibitions” (52%) as key factors. In terms of future exhibition formats, global results indicate that 64% (compared to 57% six months ago) are confident that “COVID-19 confirms the value of face-to-face events”, indicating an expectation that the sector will bounce back quickly.
„We will ‘build back’ even better. “
“The message from the global industry is clear: quite simply, 2020 was horrible. The pandemic stopped most activities around the world for several months, and, globally, our industry’s revenue dropped by almost three quarters. But, as the Global Barometer shows, 2021 should see a significant bounce back, with global revenues expected to double, pending markets re-opening and clarity on regulations. We will ‘build back’ even better, and while the industry will remain, primarily, a face-to-face marketing channel, digital offers will evolve with new patterns,” says Kai Hattendorf, UFI Managing Director and CEO.