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

Trade Fairs in Germany - Key figures 2018 

The slower rate of economic growth in Germany and greater uncertainties regarding foreign trade had only a slight dampening effect on the German exhibition industry in 2018. The 178 international and national exhibitions hosted an average of 2% more exhibitors and also 2% more stand space compared to their respective preceding events. Visitor figures remained stable at a high level once again. In particular, exhibitors (+4.4%) and visitors (+3%) from abroad continued to make strong use of Germany as an exhibition location.

For the 165 planned exhibitions of the year 2019, AUMA anticipates continued slight growth in exhibitor numbers and stand space compared to the preceding respective events. Visitor numbers are expected to remain nearly stable. This however assumes no significant decline in overall economic conditions.

The global exhibition market

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.

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 370,000 m² of hall space are available at venues for exhibitions with regional focuses.

The German Exhibition Industry - Turnover of the Exhibition companies (5-year comparison)
Turnover of German exhibition companies
 

The German Exhibition Industry - Turnover of the Exhibition Companies since 2016
Hall capacities in Germany according to venue
Hall capacities in Germany - 5 year comparison
The German trade fair sector – Overall economic importance

International and national trade fairs in Germany

 
Trade Fairs in Germany - Key figures 2018 

2018 was a relatively good year for the 178 international and national exhibitions in Germany. Some of them recorded significant growth compared to their respective previous events. The number of exhibitors rose by 2%, with the proportion of foreign exhibitors increasing disproportionately by 4.4%. Stand space also increased by 2%. Visitor numbers remained stable at a high level.

Trade fairs in Germany – Development 2014-2018

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 – Relative number of exhibitors
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 6% in 2018, 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 2018 – Foreign exhibitors by regions
Trade fairs in Germany in 2018 – most important exhibiting countries 
Trade fairs in Germany – absolute Number of foreign visitors
Germany as a trade fair location in 2018 – Foreign visitors by regions
Trade fairs in Germany in 2018 – 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 2018

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.

 
Regional exhibitions in 2018 – The 172 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

AUMA MesseTrend 2019 - Participation at trade fairs 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%) of these companies selected trade fair locations in Europe in 2017/2018, and 24% 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 – Development since 2014
Trade fairs organised by German companies abroad – 5-year comparison


AUMA MesseTrend 2019 survey – Graphics

Five hundred representative German companies that exhibit primarily at B2B fairs were queried in November 2018 as part of the 2019 AUMA MesseTrend survey. More than one quarter of these companies plan to increase their investment in trade fairs both in Germany and abroad for 2019/2020, and 56% plan the same level of investment. The companies plan to increase their trade fair budgets by an average of 3% for the same period of time. The 2019 AUMA MesseTrend survey was commissioned by AUMA and carried out by Kantar TNS.

2019 AUMA MesseTrend survey – Planned trade fair participation
2019 AUMA MesseTrend survey – Planned trade fair investment
2019 AUMA MesseTrend survey – Importance of trade fairs as marketing instruments




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