Positive initial findings from Global Recovery Project

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Kai Hattendorf, CEO, UFI & Sophie Holt, Global Strategy Director, Explori

Yesterday, (03 August) the findings were released from an extensive global study on the recovery of the trade show industry.

The study was conducted by live events research specialists, Explori in partnership with UFI, the global association of the exhibition industry and supported by SISO, the Society for Independent Show Organizers.

The interim findings, comprising over 9,000 responses from 30 countries, have shown that the absence of business events is having a significant negative impact on companies who rely on them.

Two thirds of those who exhibit at business events reported their cancellation has had a notable detrimental impact on their business, reducing their ability to build brand awareness with their target markets. Half of businesses expressed this impact as being “very large”.

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50% of companies told researchers that the absence of live events was negatively affecting their ability to generate new business.

Of those who come to business events as delegates, 90% felt they had been negatively impacted as a result of not being able to attend events. Nine out of ten felt that alternative solutions such as virtual events were not as effective in meeting their professional needs as live events.

“With trade shows running safely in more markets around the world, we are starting to feel more positive as an industry. These results support that optimism, showing that the businesses who participate in our shows are missing the value that face-to-face brings and trade shows play a key role in driving economic recovery,” says Kai Hattendorf, UFI CEO.

Sophie Holt, Global Strategy Director, Explori added: “When we embarked on this project, most markets were in lockdown and the outlook for the industry was uncertain. Some commentators felt that a shift away from live to virtual events would be a long-term outcome of the pandemic. However these results suggest that whilst virtual events have an important role to play, especially in bringing events to new audiences, our customers are eager for the return of in-person events.

We will be conducting a further phase of research in the near future to further understand the sentiments of visitors and exhibitors round the world as more markets open.”

Further results from the study will be released in the coming weeks via the industry press and the UFI Connects webinar series.