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March 14, 2014

CEIR Report Looks at Latest Trends in Attendee, Exhibitor Spending at Events

The Center for Exhibition Industry Research has released new reports on the economic benefits of conferences and conventions. Significantly, the latest studies suggest that attendees spend an estimated $44.8 billion at events while exhibitors spend an estimated $24.5 billion.

This research demonstrates the contribution business-to-business exhibitions make to the U.S. economy through attendee and exhibitor direct spending—and that contribution is significant. 

For the first time, CEIR commissioned Pricewaterhouse Coopers, LLP to quantify attendee and exhibitor direct spend estimates based on data compiled as a part of an interim update of The Economic Significance of Meetings to the U.S. Economy Study. This data, along with other CEIR data, were used to compute the estimates published in these two documents.

The reports, Attendee Direct Spending Estimate and Exhibitor Direct Spending Estimate, analyze the potential, direct spend of attendees and exhibitors at exhibitions, and further reveal direct spending at exhibitions of any size positively impacts the economy. The findings are based on the more than 11,000 exhibitions that CEIR tracks—from 3,000 net square feet with at least 10 exhibiting companies, to the largest exhibitions in the U.S.

Related: CEIR Report—Exhibition Industry Performance Up in 2013

“These direct spend estimates clearly communicate the power of business-to-business exhibition industry in making a substantial contribution to the U.S. economy," said CEIR CEO Brian Casey in a statement. "Direct spending fuels business for exhibition organizers and suppliers as well as the travel and tourism industries. All this commerce helps local, regional and U.S. economies which translates into job retention and job creation.”

CEIR Research Director Nancy Drapeau said that the two documents offer "invaluable data" to help cities evaluate and compare the economic impact of exhibitions looking to hold events in their communities. "They also offer a useful tool for exhibition organizers aiming to make the case of the economic impact their event offers prospective host cities when striving to book dates for their events.”

Last month, the Convention Industry Council released its latest data on the Economic Significance of Meetings to the U.S. Economy, showing significant increases in meeting participants, tax contribution and job growth from 2009 to 2012.

During the 2012 calendar year, 1.83 million meetings were held in the US, attended by 225 million participants, providing more than $115 billion in contribution to GDP to fuel the economy. Meetings contribution to GDP surpasses that of the air transportation, motion picture, sound recording, performing arts and spectator sport industries. 

Meetings also generated $88 billion in federal, state and local taxes to fund and support communities across the country. The majority of meeting participants in 2012 traveled 50 miles or more to attend a meeting—consuming hotel rooms, restaurant meals and transportation services, positively impacting cities and businesses across the country. As a coalition member of Meetings Mean Business, CIC and this research will be a part of the broader campaign to define and understand the link between meetings and business success.

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