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.
The gloomy economic outlook in many countries has somewhat slowed down the positive development of German trade fairs in 2019. Overall, however, the 163 international and national trade fairs in 2019 achieved stable results compared with the respective previous events. The number of exhibitors grew by around 1%, while the average increase in exhibitor stand space was half a percent. The number of visitors declined by just under 2%, mainly due to the development in the automotive sector.
To judge by its revenues, the German exhibition sector is a major player not only in Germany but also internationally. Five 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 around €4.0 billion in 2018.
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 370,000 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. 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.
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 6% in 2018, 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 55,000 exhibitors and around 6 million visitors gather at these events every year.
The 172 trade fairs with a regional focus posted a slight increase in booked stand surface area on average in 2018. The number of exhibitors fell slightly and the number of visitors decreased significantly.
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".
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 2020 survey – Graphics
Five hundred representative German companies that exhibit primarily at B2B fairs were queried in November 2019 as part of the 2020 AUMA MesseTrend survey. Some 29% of the exhibitors want to spend more for exhibition appearances in 2020-2021, 53% want to invest about the same. The 2020 AUMA MesseTrend survey was commissioned by AUMA and carried out by Kantar TNS.
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