As the world has continued to be gripped by the COVID pandemic, the recovery of the exhibitions market in 2021 and 2022 has been muted from a global perspective. However, the good news is that recovery is accelerating across most regions (excluding China) and is forecast to reach 97% of its 2019 size by 2024. These are the projections released today in Globex 2022 published by leading strategy consultancy, AMR International.
Now in its 14th year, Globex – the global exhibition organising market: assessment and forecast to 2024 – is a trusted resource relied upon by exhibition organisers and investors to help shape their strategic planning and performance improvement.
This time last year, AMR’s forecasts outlined a largely positive outlook for the global exhibitions market. Since then, a lot has happened: the Russian invasion of Ukraine has caused spiralling energy prices in Europe and supply chain issues, inflation has soared to double figures in many countries, and China has remained steadfast in pursuing its Zero-COVID policy. Collectively, these headwinds have slowed down the recovery process of some major exhibition markets, also inhibited by wider macroeconomic uncertainty.
Globex 2022 Co-Editor Athan Siah said, “We expect recovery to accelerate in 2022 as many large exhibition markets (i.e., Western Europe and the US) are free of COVID-induced restrictions. Given how the COVID crisis has affected countries differently, recovery rates will vary by market and depend on many factors, such as restrictions on international travel, vaccination progress and underlying macroeconomic growth.”
“For some countries such as the US and the UK, exhibition activity is back in full-swing and is being bolstered by highly domestic shows. On the other hand, countries such as Germany and Southeast Asia are rebuilding from a highly disrupted 2021.”
Globex highlights – recovery projections to 2024
Although each country will respond to the pandemic differently, Globex has identified markets that are expected to exhibit broadly similar recovery trajectories:
- Among others, the UK, the US and France are expected to exceed their 2019 size by 2024, reaching 105-110% of their pre-COVID high. Amidst an inflationary environment, much of the growth will be price-driven
- Emerging markets such as Brazil and Mexico are also forecast to experience strong recovery to c. 105% of their 2019 size, driven by a combination of volume recovery and inflation
- China and Hong Kong are projected to reach c. 90% of their 2019 size by 2024. This will depend heavily on future COVID outbreaks and government response
- AMR expects Russia to be the biggest laggard by far, recovering to only c. 70% of its pre-COVID size by 2024. This is due to fallout effects from the war in Ukraine and the resulting international sanctions
Athan Siah added, “Despite the lasting impact of the COVID pandemic, coupled with rising inflation and the looming threat of recession, exhibitions seem to be coming back relatively strongly. Post-COVID and market changes, many organisers are developing a different vision for some of their event brands. One where face-to-face events will remain at the core, but mindset shifts to a sense of community will likely play a role.”
*The 20 markets featured in Globex are: US, China, UK, Germany, France, Italy, Brazil, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Russia, Hong Kong, Turkey, Mexico, India, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Macau and the Philippines.