Exhibition Industry – Key figures

There are so many new topics in business and society, including controversial ones, and therefor there is an urgent need for exchange, platforms where people can explain and discuss. Trade fairs provide this type of important opportunity to meet. They are essential in driving change forward.

2023 will be the first year with a complete trade fair calendar since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. A minimum of 340 events will take place across all four quarters of the year. These include many international industry fairs that have been paused for several years due to the pandemic. The trade fair industry is recovering. Both national and international trade fair participants are returning to Germany as a trade fair location. 2023 will be a year of recovery, and although the pre-pandemic figures have not yet been reached, there is a positive upward trend overall. International business travel is back to normal again. The approach especially from Asia is increasing. The overall economic uncertainties and the global political shifts are doubtful, but trade fair participations are a convincing part of the marketing model.

Review 2022

2022 was the third exceptional year in a row. While the first quarter was almost completely cancelled due to trade fair bans, the majority of the trade fair participants had returned by autumn at the latest. 280 trade fairs took place, including 60 with first time, and unique summer dates. In 2022, a total of 130 trade fairs were cancelled. Over 7.6 million visitors and more than 141,000 exhibitors attended the German trade fairs. That’s 70 percent of exhibitors and 65 percent of visitors of the pre-pandemic figures. Around 5.7 million square metres of stand space was booked at the trade fairs between Husum and Friedrichshafen.


The global exhibition market

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. Four out of ten of the world’s largest exhibition grounds are located in Germany: Hannover, Frankfurt am Main, Cologne and Düsseldorf. There are over 40 million square metres of exhibition hall space worldwide, over three million of which are in Germany. Some of the German trade fair organisers are among the top 10 in the international sales ranking.

Revenues of exhibition companies worldwide
Hall capacities worldwide

The German exhibition market

Home of the trade fair and a magnet for the world: Today, there are more than 70 trade fair locations from Husum on the North Sea, down to Friedrichshafen on Lake Constance and from Leipzig in the east over to Essen in the west. Here is where a large number of the world‘s industry trade fairs take place.

Twenty-for venues for international or national trade fairs in Germany have a combined hall space of around 2.8 million 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.

Hall capacities in Germany according to venue
The German trade fair sector – Overall economic importance

International and national trade fairs in Germany

However, a good two dozen new trade fairs celebrated their premiere in 2022, predominantly in the mobility, medicine and energy industries. Only one trade fair took place completely digitally. Around Five million square metres of stand space was booked at the at the almost 170 trade fairs of national and international importance. These were the specific meeting locations for around 5.5 million of the 7.6 million visitors and 120,000 of the more than 141,000 exhibitors.


Participation from abroad

Internationality on the exhibitor and visitor side is the most important advantage of German trade fairs in global competition. The two million foreign trade fair visitors in Germany in 2022 were impressive. Proportionally, the approximately 72,000 foreign exhibitors were at pre-pandemic level. An interesting fact is to see where they came from. There was a clear shift there: In 2019, almost 30 percent of exhibiting companies came from Asia, but in 2022 this figure was just under 19 percent. More than 72 percent of exhibitors came from European countries, whereas pre-pandemic this proportion was around 60 percent.

Trade fairs in Germany in 2022 – Foreign exhibitors by regions
Trade fairs in Germany in 2022 – most important exhibiting countries 
Trade fairs in Germany in 2022 – Foreign visitors by regions
Trade fairs in Germany in 2022 – most important visiting 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 2022

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

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