The results of the latest UFI Global Barometer survey
UFI, the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry, has released the latest edition of its flagship industry survey, Global Barometer. The survey was completed in June 2021 and contains data from a record number of 474 companies from 64 countries and regions.
While the results highlight the strong impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global exhibition sector in 2020, the situation is gradually improving and there is a strong belief that the sector, driven mainly by exhibitions, fairs and business events, will bounce back quickly.
While several national markets have reopened as early as June 2021, most companies in all regions expect both local and national exhibitions and fairs to reopen in the next 12 months and international exhibitions to reopen in the first half of 2022.
The digitisation of products and services gained momentum during the pandemic, with 58% of respondents saying they had added digital services/products (such as apps, digital advertising, and digital signage) to their existing exhibition offering. In addition, 40% have developed a digital transformation strategy for individual exhibitions or products, and 53% of companies believe digital events will represent more than 10% of their revenue over the next two years.
As far as the future exhibition formats are concerned, global results show that 78% of respondents (up from 64% six months ago and from 57% 12 months ago) believe that COVID-19 has confirmed the value of face-to-face events, expecting that this sector will rebound quickly.
When asked what would be the most helpful in the ‘rebounding’ of the fair industry, most companies mentioned "lifting the current travel restrictions" (71% of the responses), "willingness of exhibitors and visitors to participate in events" (58% of the responses) and “lifting the current regulations that apply to local exhibitions” (55% of the responses) as key factors.
48% of companies have benefited from some level of public financial support; for most of them, public support accounted for less than 10% of their total costs in 2019;
57% of companies had to reduce their workforce; more than half of them reduced by more than 25%;
10% of companies declared that they will have to close permanently if there is no business for the next six months.
Another UFI Global Barometer survey will be conducted in December 2021.
The complete results of the survey can be downloaded from the website https://www.ufi.org/industry-resources/research/