€145 billion of lost revenue for global exhibition industry due to Covid-19: updated UFI study

UFI releases updated global assessment of the escalating economic impact that COVID-19 is having on tradeshows and exhibitions

UFI, The Global Association of the Exhibition Industry, has released updated numbers that reflect the impact that tradeshow postponements and cancellations are having for both the exhibiting companies as well as for the tradeshow industry around the world.

Based on UFI data, the orders that exhibiting companies will not secure will add up to €134.2 billion (US$144.9 billion) globally, projecting to the end of the 2Q2020. This is an increase of almost five times the figure reported last week (€23 billion) which took into account cancellations only up to the end of the current quarter.

UFI releases updated global assessment of the escalating economic impact that COVID-19 is having on tradeshows and exhibitions

“Right now, the marketplaces that industries rely on to trade are closed around the world. This is unprecedented. Mass closures of events in relation to Covid-19 have now also reached North and South America, meaning the entire global exhibitions and events industry is grinding to a halt”, said Kai Hattendorf, UFI managing director / CEO.

Related to the exhibition industry, €81.6 billion of total economic output will not be generated by the end of 2Q. Broken down into regions, the respective total economic impact that will not be generated is:

  • €21.8 billion and 378,000 FTE jobs for Asia Pacific;
  • €28.8 billion and 257,000 FTE jobs for Europe;
  • €29.2 billion and 320,000 FTE jobs for North America.

The backbone of the exhibitions industry are many micro and small enterprises, and the lack of business is putting these at immediate risk of bankruptcy. As the industry’s global trade association, UFI is working with many national associations to help secure government and regional support for the companies that are badly affected. From Hong Kong to Denmark, there have been several examples already of economic relief for our industry.

“We call on every government to secure the future of our sector through imminent subsidy and credit programmes. Their investments now will pay off extremely well. We will build and operate the marketplaces and meeting places for all the sectors and industries to meet and do business after the pandemic – our industry provides the fastest of all fast tracks to any economic recovery”, said Hattendorf.

No stranger to adaptation, exhibition venues around the world are meanwhile offering their support to the respective health sectors.

“Many of our members are supporting the emergency response to the
crisis in their respective cities, building temporary shelters and installing beds in case local hospitals are unable to cope with demand. It is always humbling to see how our industry comes together in difficult times”, said Hattendorf.