The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the exhibition industry worldwide is severe: A majority of companies believe that exhibitions with an international scope will not open until 2021. These are the findings of UFI’s latest edition of the Global Barometer research. 85 percent of companies declared their overall level of activity was “normal” in January. In March this dropped to 15 percent, to reach between 5 and 6 percent in April, May and June. 73 percent of companies worldwide declared “no activity” for April and May.
With a majority of companies expecting regional and national exhibitions to open again during the second half of 2020, the level of activity is expected to slowly increase, and two out of three companies project at least a reduced level of activity in the last quarter of 2020.
Globally, revenues for the first half of 2020 dropped by two thirds on average, compared with the same period last year. Looking at 2020 as a whole, it is currently expected that globally revenues will represent only 39 percent of those of 2019.
The survey also tackles possible driving trends for the format of exhibitions in the coming years. Global results indicate that 57 percent are confident that “Covid-19 confirms the value of face-to-face events", anticipating that the sector will bounce back quickly, whereas 31 percent are “not sure”. “On the back of an exceptional year in 2019, we are now seeing an unprecedented drop in revenues around the world. While the industry remains confident that it will bounce back, everyone is aware that this crisis will lead to major changes in the way exhibitions are produced, especially with a push towards more digital elements before, during, and between events,” says Kai Hattendorf, UFI Managing Director and CEO.
This edition of UFI’s bi-annual industry survey was concluded in June 2020 and includes data from a record 459 companies in 62 countries and regions. www.ufi.org/industry-resources/research/