The state of the international exhibition industry has been captured in the latest Global Barometer research by UFI, the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry. This includes a look at the impact of Covid-19 during 2020, as well as predictions for what to expect in 2021. The data was collected from 457 companies in 64 countries and regions. An outlook and analysis is also included for South Africa.
The findings include:
- More than half of all companies reported no activity between April and August 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, with most reporting some limited activity from September.
- 54% of companies had to reduce their workforce, with half of these by more than 25%. The share of companies forced to reduce their workforce is highest in the Middle East and Africa (73% of companies), and lowest in the Asia-Pacific region (49%). 87% of South African respondents have had to reduce their workforce, with 66% reducing their staff by more than 25%.
87% of South African respondents have had to reduce their workforce.
- The revenue drop for 2020 was the highest for companies in Central and South America and the Middle East and Africa, who respectively achieved 23% and 24% of 2019 revenue levels, compared to an average of 29%. South African companies fared worse off, reporting an average of 16% of 2019 revenue levels.
- Globally, 52% of companies reported profit losses in 2020, which increases to 58% in the Middle East and Africa, and 64% in Central and South America. However, when focusing on South Africa, this increases to 80%.
- 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 the top three factors as “readiness of exhibiting companies and visitors to participate again” (64%, compared to 60% of South African companies), “lift of current travel restrictions” (63%, while this was this biggest factor for South African companies at 73%) and “lift of current public policies that apply locally to exhibitions” (52%, or 60% in South Africa).
“Lift of current travel restrictions” was this biggest factor for South African companies.
- The proportion of companies believing they will need to close if business doesn’t resume within the next six months varies from 5% in North America and 6% in the Asia-Pacific region, up to 17% in the Middle East and Africa. In contrast, 33% of South African companies indicated this would be the case.
To download the full research report, click here.