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December 1, 2009

Exhibitor spending falls in US

US companies have reduced the proportion of their marketing budget dedicated to trade shows this year to 34%, down 2% on 2008, according to a recent study.

The research, carried out by the Centre for Exhibition Industry Research, surveyed 236 US marketing executives, and also found that more than half of respondents had cut down the number of shows they were exhibiting at.

The future looks slightly brighter, however, with 70% of marketers surveyed saying that next year they would probably exhibit at the same number of or more shows than they did in 2009.

The fall in exhibition spending this year was put down to greater scrutiny over how marketing spend was allocated, with companies dropping events seen as being of lower value.

“Some executives note that they are looking to migrate some dollars to higher-value alternatives, including digital and other in-person marketing/sales alternatives, such as direct sales efforts, seminars, corporate-sponsored events, etc,” said the report. However, nearly three quarters of marketers said the budget savings made were not reinvested in other marketing media.

With respect to exhibition stand size, encouragingly, 60% of respondents said they were the same as in 2008, while only 25% reported a drop in size.

The research also revealed that the average US company spends between $21,000 and $27,000 on a booth, with 35% going on space, 23% on furnishings and setup, and 15% on staffing and travel.

Despite the fact that less of a company’s marketing budget was going towards exhibitions, 21% of executives still said that 60% or more of it went on exhibitions.

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