Are Exhibitions In Decline?

Are Exhibitions In Decline?Why Are Exhibitions Closing?

With the development of the internet and the impact of the world economy, are exhibitions going into decline?

We have seen two big players in the exhibition industry join forces with to create a central partnership.  However is this to try and dominate the declining exhibition industry here in the UK?

Globally we have seen exhibitions contract by 68% due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but we have seen the UK events industry dwindle for many years.

We have seen two shows canceled this year in 2013 (Interbuild 2011 and SED 2011) which is down to the UK recession.

Exhibitions are expensive and many sales people love them.  A day out of the office, a chance to do some travelling and get paid to do both.

This arguably has more to do with the construction sector declining as opposed to the exhibition industry as a whole.

However many shows spanning a range of industry sectors have seen visitor number drop in recent years (manufacturing (sub con), M&E (Mac) as companies opt for keeping staff at their desks.

It is expensive sending staff out for a days ‘jolly’ to network, chat to friends and accumulate expenses.  As such many businesses have decided not to visit shows as much now that more can be done via the web and on e-mail.

We have seen many exhibitions closed or cancelled.

For exhibitors, with falling foot flow, they find it hard to justify the expense of renting the floor space, paying for a stand to be designed.  Also paying for models, food, hotels, drinks, transport and all the other costs surrounding events and exhibitions.  Exhibition stand design is expensive and as the cost of manning them.  Are exhibitions in decline as a result of rising cost?

While exhibitions are a valuable place for companies to meet, sell and promote themselves.  They are still very expensive compared with other marketing service options which can be a lot more cost effective.

Exhibitions Are Expensive

Exhibitions are expensive, sometimes costing over £100,000.

This includes the exhibition fees, a large 2 or 3 story exhibition stand, staff costs, hotels, food, transportation.

If companies are not seeing a return, they opt not to exhibit and the event organisers cancel or close the event due to lack of big exhibitors.

As mentioned, sales people love exhibitions, and many are sad that exhibitions are cancelled.

It is a chance to get out of the 9-5 Monday – Friday routine.  A chance to go up to the NEC with their friends or a few pretty girls from the office.

Growth In Technology

Many exhibitions are cancelled or closed due to the growth in technology.

Exhibitions have been around for over 100 years, it is a chance for companies to showcase their new products.

The most famous exhibition was the Great Exhibition, which took place at the Crystal Palace in 1851 from 1st – 15th May.  This was an international event where famous people such as Charles Darwin and Michael Faraday attended.

Ever since then, companies have attended events and exhibitions for cars, bathrooms, construction equipment, engineering, toys and anything to everything.  Popular UK sites being the NEC in Birmingham and the Excel in London.

However as technology has moved on, the internet makes it free to view new products without the costly events.

Zoom has also come into being, making multiple people conference calling another nail in the coffin for the events sector.

The Future For Events And Exhibitions

Looking at the trend of events and exhibitions over the last two decades, there has been a steady decline.

This could be blamed on the cost of events and exhibitions in the UK.

It could be blamed on the global recession of 2011 when the housing sector in the USA triggered a domino effect.

The decline in events and exhibition could be blamed on the COVID pandemic of 2020.

However the trend over the last 20 years does show that businesses are opting to not use exhibitions and events as much as they have done previously.

There are certainly lots of UK events and exhibitions continuing, and attendees range from small to large and global companies.  Big businesses can afford to have big stands.  Smaller companies choose to have a smaller stand or pop up, to have a presence if anything else.

The future of exhibitions and events in the UK is unclear.  They are unlikely to completely stop, but we will most likely see many less popular events stop, for the time being.

Events and exhibitions that have closed may well start again in the future, you never know.

The UK is facing another recession so many companies are opting to keep exhibition costs down and do more on the digital platform of their websites and social media.

In these difficult economic times, it is good to compare marketing prices and weigh up if exhibitions really are the best marketing option.  Or whether there are more cost effective options available.

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