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The exhibition business structure in Germany

Exhibiting companies

Around 58,000 German companies are active exhibitors in the B2B segment. The majority of them are in the manufacturing sector (55 per cent), followed by the service sector (23 per cent), and trade (20 per cent). Medium-sized companies dominate in terms of both number of employees and sales: 51 per cent of exhibitors have fewer than 50 employees, and 39 per cent have 50 to 499. Some 47 per cent of exhibiting companies post sales of up to 2.5 million euros, and 35 per cent of 2.5 to 50 million euros.


The percentage of decision-makers among all trade fair visitors is exceptionally high at 63 per cent. Managing directors, board members and self-employed people from Germany make up 35 per cent of trade visitors, and 73 per cent of those from abroad. The latter group commands above-average decisional powers, with 91 per cent having determining or co-determining influence on business decisions. Thirteen per cent of trade fair visitors come from companies with more than 1,000 employees, including top decision-makers from global corporations. Some 54 per cent of trade visitors come from companies with fewer than 60 employees.


Approximately 100 exhibition organisers are active in Germany, around 40 of which handle international fairs. The largest of them are amongst the highest-grossing trade fair companies in the world. This makes the exhibition business one of the leading service sectors in Germany, also in comparison to other countries.

The German organisers in AUMA put on around 300 trade fairs in other countries – primarily in major growth regions such as Asia, North America, South America and Eastern Europe. That too benefits the German economy, because it needs expert partners for its trade fair activities – particularly in highly competitive foreign markets.

Service companies

Close cooperation with a large number of service companies is what makes a trade fair successful. Of special note here are stand constructors, designers, event specialists and consulting companies, as well as shipping companies, stand personnel trainers, caterers and hotels. The stand construction companies in the fwd: Federal Association of the Event Industry alone post overall annual sales of around €2 billion.

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