International and national trade fairs in Germany in 2017 have posted the highest increases in their most important key figures for five years. The 157 fairs held last year registered 3.7% more exhibitors which booked 3.1% more stand space in comparison to their respective preceding events. The number of visitors was the only key figure to remain constant, due to lower attendance at automotive shows. These final figures were calculated by AUMA – the Association of the German Trade Fair Industry.
A comparison of different exhibition types revealed that investment goods events showed especially high increases in exhibitor numbers and stand space. But consumer goods trade fairs, international public exhibitions and services trade fairs also helped make 2017 a successful year. Economic conditions in Germany, which have remained positive were one reason for this, along with the continuous improvement in event and infrastructure quality for exhibitions and their venues.
German exhibitions attract a greater than average number of participants from abroad. The number of international exhibitors rose by more than 6%, and the number of international visitors by more than 4%. Announcements of protectionist measures such as higher tariffs have not had any negative effect on exhibitions in the country to date. In the words of AUMA Chairman Walter Mennekes, “The talk is of price increases, not boycotts, and not every price increase will lower demand, especially not for quality products. That being said, any type of trade restriction will lead to uncertainty on the markets and therefore, also at trade fairs, so it’s generally better to remove, rather than create, restrictions. AUMA will be strongly advocating this position.”
German exhibition organisers posted sales of around 3.7 billion euros in 2017, a higher figure than ever before for an odd-numbered year with a relatively low number of events. The year 2018 will see more events for interval-based reasons, so turnover is expected to exceed 3.8 billion euros. For the 178 events planned for this year, AUMA anticipates further increases in exhibitor numbers and stand space. A slight rise in visitor numbers is also predicted, in contrast to the year before. This, however, assumes that there is no significant deterioration in the overall economic situation. Trade fairs in the first four months of 2018 have registered 2% more exhibitors and 3% more stand space than their preceding events, with visitor levels remaining stable. Once again, there has been an above-average rise in the number of exhibitors from abroad.
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