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April 4, 2008

EIA Facts reveals rise in trade show attendance

Hot off the press, the EIA Facts 2007 shows more than 10 million visits to major live events in 2006, with trade show attendance up for the first time since 1999.

The report was produced for the Events Industry Alliance by Vivid Interface, and is sponsored by EVENTS:review, exhibitions.co.uk, tsnn.co.uk and venues.org.uk. It looks at the performance of the UK exhibition industry in 2006 and, where possible, compares 2006 with 2005. It covers audited and non-audited public and trade events in what is known as a 'qualifying venue' (one with more than 2,000 square meters of covered exhibition floor space) and major outdoor events.

The EIA claims “it is the most complete census yet of the events industry, developing previous research to deliver more meaningful data for the industry, and also for increasingly interested external audiences, such as clients and media agencies”.

EIA Facts 2007 replaces the Exhibition Facts report previously published by EVA (Exhibition Venues Association). Following the merger of EVA with AEV (Association of Event Venues) – one of EIA’s three owner trade organisations – EIA set about evolving the research into a more comprehensive, user-friendly statistical resource. In partnership with Vivid Interface, major changes have been made to the presentation of the data.

On to the figures, in 2006, 2,071,663 visitors attended trade events in qualifying venues, 4,867,030 visitors attended public events in qualifying venues and a further 3,768,068 attended major outdoor events.

Looking first at audited trade events, the great news is that where comparisons are possible – and this is the case for the majority of trade events – there was an increase in total attendance of 1.7% in 2006 over the previous year.

Public events, however, reveal a decline in total attendance of 4.6% between 2005 and 2006. For all trade events and public events, attendance numbers are broadly static between the two years.

So it would appear that the fall in attendance at trade events, which has been reported since 1999, has stopped, while public event attendances are in decline.

Event type?? ? ? ????????? Total? 2005 ???? Total 2006?? ??? ???? %
??? ??? ??? ??? ??? ??? ??????? attendance???
attendance Change
Audited trade events?? 1,223,619??????? 1,243,814????????? + 1.7%
Audited public events? 2,141,496??????? 2,042,773????????? – 4.6%
All trade events?????????? 1,514,303???????? 1,513,869???????? – 0.1%
All public events????????? 3,139,911??????? 3,126,221???????? – 0.4%

EIA Facts also provides regional statistics. For example, looking at the areas that play host to the top venues – the West Midlands and London – the following is revealed:

West Midlands – Total attendance

Audited trade events?????????????????????????? ??? 754,114
All trade events?????????????????????????????????? ??? 910,626
Audited public events???????????????????????? ??? 1,002,915
All public events????????????????????????????????? ??? 1,732,183
Total attendance in qualifying venues ??? 2,642,809

London – Total attendance

Audited trade events?????????????????????????? ??? 485,198
All trade events??????????????????????????????????? ??? 943,524
Audited public events????????????????????????? ??? 1,104,771
All public events????????????????????????????????? ??? 2,289,429
Total attendance in qualifying venues ??? 3,232,953

Finally, if the attendance data is added together for all the events in all regions for which there is data in 2006, the figures reveal that 2,071,663 visitors attended trade events and 4,867,030 attended public events in qualifying venues with more than 2,000 square metres of covered space, making a total of 6,938,693 event visits. If the claimed attendance at the major outdoor events is added to this then the total rises to 10,706,761.

Interestingly, this figure is very likely to be an understatement as there are many more outdoor events than have been reported and also a lot of indoor events at small venues throughout the UK that will not be acknowledged in the figures.

Commenting on the EIA Facts 2007, EIA group chief executive Trevor Foley said: “I am delighted to be able to deliver the inaugural EIA Facts to the members of AEC, AEO and AEV, and to the industry at large. This is the start of new era for this research, designed to provide a comprehensive analysis our market for those working within the industry, and those interested in becoming more involved in events.

"The main message is that the events business is alive and doing very well, especially when you compare it to other marketing media such as advertising and TV. This new method of analysis will give us the ammunition next year and thereafter to clearly demonstrate that live event marketing is on the rise, as we in the industry and the more savvy marketers out there, already know.”

The EIA Facts 2007 is free to AEC, AEO and AEV members, while non-member companies can purchase the report for ?350 plus VAT. For more details visit www.eia-facts.com

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