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.
Exhibitors and visitors from all over the world were very much in favour of exhibitions in Germany in 2017. At the 311 events, the number of international, national and regional events is roughly balanced. The figures for visitors, exhibitors and rented stand space show the outstanding importance of international and national exhibitions in Germany: around 80% of the space, 62% of visitors and 77% of exhibitors are in this category.
AUMA anticipates growth at the 178 trade fairs planned for 2018. The number of exhibitors is expected to rise slightly again over figures for the respective preceding events, as is the number of visitors.
To judge by its revenues, the German exhibition sector is a major player not only in Germany but also internationally. Four of the world’s ten highest-grossing trade fair companies are headquartered in the country. Sales in the trade fair sector have increased steadily for the past fifteen years, nearly without exception. From €2.3 billion in 2002, the sector reached its current record high of €3.9 million in 2016.
According to the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry (UFI), there are around 1,200 exhibition venues worldwide and 31,000 exhibitions a year. Germany accounts for nearly 10 percent of the world’s 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 380,000 m² of hall space are available at venues for exhibitions with regional focuses.
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. Under relatively favourable general economic conditions the fairs have again shown slight growth, with only the number of visitors remaining constant. The competitive position of trade fairs vis-à-vis other marketing media remains stable.
The international quality of exhibitors and visitors is one of Germany’s major competitive advantages over other countries in the trade fair business. The region encompassing South, East and Central Asia is a key engine behind the increased participation by international exhibitors. The number of exhibitors from Asian countries at German trade fairs increased by around 4.5% in 2017, and the number from EU countries rose by a good 2%.
International and national trade fairs in Germany are supplemented by a dense network of regional trade fairs for both trade and public visitors. Some 50,000 exhibitors and 5 to 6 million visitors gather at these events every year.
The 154 trade fairs with a regional focus posted an average of 1.5% more visitors in 2016, and a slight increase of 0.8% more stand surface area booked. The average number of exhibitors was the only key figure to show a slight decline.
German companies that exhibit at trade fairs in other countries ensure and strengthen exports of German goods and services. The German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) provides special support in this area to small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) with its foreign trade fair programme. With a focus on trade fairs outside the EU, the BMWi coordinates the German Pavilions (joint presentations under federal auspices) with the umbrella brand name “made in Germany".
However, the number of trade fairs supported and participating companies has declined since 2014, because the budget provided was not increased accordingly despite increased participation costs.
The German trade fair companies in AUMA and FAMA organise around 300 trade fairs on six continents every year. Most of these companies apply proven strategies for leading trade fairs in Germany to selected markets in other countries. All key figures for German trade fairs abroad have increased on a regular basis – taking interval-based fluctuations into account. This trajectory is expected to continue in the years to come. AUMA supports these trade fairs in other countries with its quality label “German Trade Fair Quality Abroad".
AUMA MesseTrend 2018 survey – Graphics
Five hundred representative German companies that exhibit primarily at B2B fairs were queried in November 2017 as part of the 2018 AUMA MesseTrend survey. More than one quarter of these companies plan to increase their investment in trade fairs both in Germany and abroad for 2018/2019, and 57% plan the same level of investment. The companies plan to increase their trade fair budgets by an average of 4% for the same period of time. The 2018 AUMA MesseTrend survey was commissioned by AUMA and carried out by Kantar TNS.
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