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.​

Latest key figures


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.

The global exhibition market​

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.​

Revenues of exhibition companies worldwide​

2016: Umsätze der Messegesellschaften weltweit seit 2014

​Hall capacities worldwide

2018: Hallenkapazitäten weltweit 


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 380,000 m² of hall space are available at venues for exhibitions with regional focuses.

​The German trade fair sector​​ - ​Trade fair company r​evenues


​Hall capacities in Germany according to venues​

Messeplatz Deutschland 2018 - Ausstellungskapazitäten in Deutschland

 ​​Hall capacities in Germany - 5 ​​year comparison

Messeplatz Deutschland 2018 - Hallenkapazitäten​ 

 ​The German trade fair sector – Overall economic importance​

International and national trade fairs in Germany


2017 was a good year for the 157 international and national exhibitions in Germany. Some of them recorded significant growth compared to their respective previous events. The number of exhibitors rose by 3.7%, with the proportion of foreign exhibitors increasing disproportionately by 6.3%. Stand space also increased by 3.2%. Visitor numbers and the number of domestic exhibitors remained stable at a high level.


​Trade fairs in Germany – ​​Development 2013-2017​

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.​

Trade fairs in Germany – Absolute number of exhibitors​​​​​​


​Trade fairs in Germany – Relative number of exhibitors

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​Trade fairs in Germany – Absolute number of visitors​


​Trade fairs in Germany – Relative number of visitors


​Trade fairs in Germany – Absolute exhibitor stand space


Trade fairs in Germany – Relative exhibitor stand space​


Participation from abroad

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​%. ​

​Trade fairs in Germany – absolute number of foreign exhibitors


Trade fairs in Germany in 2017 – Foreign exhibitors by regions

Trade fairs in Germany in 2017 – most important exhibiting countries 


Trade fairs in Germany – absolute Number of foreign visitors

​Germany as a trade fair location in 2017 – Foreign visitors by regions

Trade fairs in Germany​ in 2017 – 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 50,000 exhibitors and 5 to 6 million visitors gather at these events every year.

Key figures 2017

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.

Regional exhibitions in 2017 – The 154 fairs compared to their previous events


​Regional exhibitions – Number of events - 5-year comparison


​Regional exhibitions – Number of exhibitors - 5-year comparison


​Regional exhibitions – Number of visitors - 5-year comparison


​Regional exhibitions – Exhibitor stand space - 5-year comparison


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 (37%) of these companies selected trade fair locations in Europe in 2016/2017, and 20% overseas. These figures are from the 2018 AUMA MesseTrend, a representative survey (carried out by TNS Emnid) of 500 German exhibiting companies.​​​
Foreign trade fair programme – Development since 2013​

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.

​2017 Foreign trade fair programme – German Pavilions: Number/distribution worldwide


​2017 Foreign trade fair programme – German Pavilions: Number of events


Trade fairs organised by German companies abroad – 5-year co​mparison​

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". ​

​Trade fairs organised by German companies abroad – Number of trade fairs (comparison)


​Trade fairs organised by German companies abroad – Number/distribution worldwide


​Trade fairs organised by German companies abroad – Number of exhibitors


​Trade fairs organised by German companies abroad – Number of visitors​

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.

2018 AUMA MesseTrend survey – Planned trade fair participation


2018 AUMA MesseTrend survey – Planned trade fair investment


​2018 AUMA MesseTrend survey – Importance of trade fairs as marketing instruments



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