The exhibition industry has been struggling for many years now, due to falling numbers of attendees visiting exhibitions, they are becoming less and less popular than days gone by. In 2014 we have seen many exhibitions cancelled as a knock on effect of the recession.
Historically, exhibitions were used to find out the new products in the market, launch new products and networking.
They were great for people that wanted a day out of the office, to meet friends and pick up freebies. However many businesses recognised that these were a drain on resources. The internet could provide as good a resource whilst saving the expenses occurred by travel, accommodation, food.
Falling numbers of visitors has impacted on the events themselves, that have noticed shows being quieter year on year.
Exhibitions are expensive considering using an exhibition stand designer for the design and set-up, branded gifts and the cost of renting the floor space. Organisers charge a premium for stand space, and shows can cost upwards of £15,000 just in the floor space alone for a 3 day event. Once the cost of staff, accommodation, travel, meals, alcohol and downtime in the office is factored in; the one exhibition could cost upwards of £50,000.
This is understandable if the benefits outweigh the costs. But with falling foot flow at events, they are meaning that many companies are making serious losses.
The knock on effect of the exhibitions cancelled is that this shift also effects hotels, taxi companies, food suppliers and other private companies that work around events and exhibitions.
The companies that organise the events are facing very real problems; with falling customer numbers it is difficult to make up space at events. Large floor space (that is charged at a premium) goes at a fraction of the price meaning less profits.
More companies are going for smaller modular stands or banner stands. Then only sending one or two people instead of the sales team. Some companies are just not attending events, and spending their marketing budget on internet marketing instead.
Due to reduced exhibitors, many have been cancelled. This has been a trend now since 2008 and seems to be something that will continue for a while to come. Exhibition centres like the NEC & O2 are concerned about the number of exhibitions cancelled.
The internet has played a part in this trend, as it is far cheaper to advertise on the internet than it is to exhibit at an event. There will not be the same effect, however based on sales enquiries, many companies opt for the cheaper route.
The future is unclear; exhibitions are great for brand awareness and for the larger companies to showcase new products and innovations; but smaller businesses do need a quick ROI and this is something that reduced visitor numbers will impact.