€23 billion of lost revenue for global exhibition industry: UFI study

UFI releases first global assessment of economic impact Covid-19 is having on tradeshows and exhibitions

UFI, The Global Association of the Exhibition Industry, has released data that reflect how much tradeshow postponements and cancellations are costing both the industry and exhibiting companies.

“Globally, the fact that more than 500 tradeshows have not taken place in recent weeks is creating an escalating ripple effect for whole industries”, noted Kai Hattendorf, UFI managing director / CEO.

UFI releases an assessment of economic impact Covid-19 is having on tradeshows and exhibitions globally

Based on UFI data, the orders that exhibiting companies are currently not securing already add up to €23 billion (US$26.3 billion) globally. Of this, UFI estimates lost orders of around €13 billion euros in Asia-Pacific, and €9.7 billion in Europe. As additional events continue to be postponed, these numbers are expected to rise further in the weeks to come.

As an industry, the exhibitions industry generates a total economic output of €22.9 billion per month globally on average, translating into more than 270,000 FTE jobs.

Based on the current numbers and size of the events not taking place, €14.4 billion of economic output have already been lost. Hardest hit is Asia-Pacific, where the impact is already reaching more than €8.4 billion. In Europe, with an ongoing wave of postponed and/or cancelled shows, the impact is already reaching €5.8 billion. Calculations for other regions are underway.

Many of the events that are not taking place this quarter are being postponed – and rescheduled to take place later in the year. This may help to reduce the mid-to-long-term impact.

“But even short-term postponements have an immediate impact because they delay scheduled business and revenues. This poses an existential risk, in particular for small and medium-sized companies”, said Christian Druart, UFI research manager.

“These numbers stress the critical importance exhibitions play in any economic recovery – market places and meeting places are the fastest fast track to drive any economic recovery”, said Hattendorf.

“We rely on the joint efforts from policymakers and global leaders to ensure that the companies that organise these events, creating those necessary market and meeting places, will be able to continue to fulfil that role in the future. All of these companies are already suffering massively under the current wave of postponements and cancellations”, he concluded.

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