Exhibition Industry – Key figures

Trade fairs are by far the most important instrument in B2B communications. This is one of the main reasons why the exhibition business is one of the leading service sectors in Germany. It encompasses all companies, associations and persons that organise fairs or provide services for organisers and exhibitors. The sector also enjoys a high status internationally.

Review 2021

After 2020, Germany as a trade fair venue had to contend with massive economic slumps in 2021 as well, due to the the Corona pandemic. Of the 380 planned trade fairs, only 100 could be held in the third and fourth quarter. At the international, national, and regional trade fairs held in Germany, 1.3 million square meters of exhibitor stand space, 36,000 exhibitors and 2.1 million visitors were counted. Comparing 2021 with an average year before the Corona pandemic, there were around 85 percent fewer exhibitors and 87 percent fewer visitors at German trade fairs. The exhibitor stand space rented showed a deficit of 85 percent. This means that 2021 was even worse than the already appallingly bad year of 2020.

The global exhibition market

In international comparison, too, the German trade fair industry is highly esteemed. Four of the ten largest trade fair companies in the world are based in Germany. In the international turnover ranking, five of the top 10 trade fair organisers are from Germany - measured by turnover before the Corona pandemic.

According to the international trade fair association UFI, there are around 1,360 trade fair venues worldwide and 31,000 trade fairs per year. Germany’s share of  surface area is eight per cent.

Revenues of exhibition companies worldwide
Hall capacities worldwide

The German exhibition market

Twenty-five venues for international or national trade fairs in Germany have a combined hall space of around 2.8 million square metres. Ten sites each have capacities of more than 100,000 square metres, and five additional sites each have more than 50,000 square metres. Hall space is expected to grow only slightly in the coming years. Investments will be made primarily in quality. An additional approximately 390,000 m² of hall space are available at venues for exhibitions with regional focuses.

The German Exhibition Industry - Turnover of the Exhibition companies
Hall capacities in Germany according to venue
The German trade fair sector – Overall economic importance

International and national trade fairs in Germany

After 2020, the international and national trade fairs in Germany also had to contend with massive economic slumps in 2021 due to the Corona pandemic. Of the 198 planned fairs in this category, only 49 could be held in the third and fourth quarter.


Trade fairs in Germany – Development 2015-2019

Nearly two-thirds of the leading global trade fairs in different branches of industry are held in Germany. The country is the world’s number one location for international trade shows. Despite the worsening economic conditions, they again grew slightly in Germany compared to their previous events, with only the number of visitors remaining constant. The competitive position of trade fairs vis-à-vis other marketing media remains stable.

Trade fairs in Germany – Absolute number of exhibitors
Trade fairs in Germany – Absolute number of visitors
Trade fairs in Germany – Absolute exhibitor stand space

Participation from abroad

Internationality on the exhibitor and visitor side is the most important advantage of German trade fairs in global competition. For many years, the decisive growth driver in international participation on the part of exhibitors was the region of South-East-Central Asia. Almost 31,000 exhibitors (+11.9%) from Asian countries came to the trade fairs in Germany in 2019. The number of exhibitors from EU countries fell by 2%. 

Trade fairs in Germany – absolute number of foreign exhibitors
Trade fairs in Germany in 2019 – Foreign exhibitors by regions
Trade fairs in Germany in 2019 – most important exhibiting countries 
Trade fairs in Germany – absolute Number of foreign visitors
Germany as a trade fair location in 2019 – Foreign visitors by regions
Trade fairs in Germany in 2019 – most important visitor countries

Regional trade fairs

International and national trade fairs in Germany are supplemented by a dense network of regional trade fairs for both trade and public visitors. Some 55,000 exhibitors and around 6 million visitors gather at these events every year.

Key figures 2021

The 52 trade fairs with a regional catchment area recorded a total of almost 10,000 exhibitors, 374,000 square meters of stand space and 764,000 visitors in 2021. Originally, 181 fairs in this category were planned, but 129 were cancelled or postponed due to the pandemic.



German trade fair activity abroad

In addition to participating in trade fairs at home, German businesses also make considerable use of trade fairs abroad. German companies participate in an average of ten fairs every two years: six in Germany and four in other countries. A good third (36 Percent) of these companies selected trade fair locations in Europe in 2017/2018, and 24 Percent overseas. These figures are from the 2019 AUMA MesseTrend, a representative survey (carried out by TNS Emnid) of 500 German exhibiting companies.

Foreign trade fair programme
Trade fairs organised by German companies abroad

AUMA MesseTrend 2020 survey – Graphics

A few months before the Corona pandemic, in November 2019, 500 representatively selected German companies that primarily exhibit at business-to-business fairs were surveyed. The result once again impressively showed the fundamentally strong anchoring of the trade fair as an instrument in German companies. According to the survey, 29% of exhibitors wanted to spend more money on trade fair participation in 2020/2021, 53% wanted to invest about the same amount, and only 17% planned to spend less. These were the findings of the AUMA MesseTrend 2020, a survey conducted by Kantar TNS on behalf of AUMA. But even in this survey it became clear that real experiences and virtual reality will complement each other in the future - at least on exhibition stands of German exhibitors. For the time of the Corona pandemic and beyond, a considerable strengthening of this development is expected.

2020 AUMA MesseTrend survey – Planned trade fair participation
2020 AUMA MesseTrend survey – Planned trade fair investment
2020 AUMA MesseTrend survey – Importance of trade fairs as marketing instruments

We only use technically necessary cookies on our website.
Information on data protection at AUMA can be found here.