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The Voice of the Exhibition Industry Market Outlook – Wave 2

22-Oct-2020 02.06.00 | Andrea Piccin

Covid -19 represents an unprecedented challenge to the Exhibition Industry. Not only because of the economic impact, but also for the disruption it brings in terms of behaviour and adoption of new technologies by all stakeholders.
The aim of the second wave of this research is to collect and understand the point of view of industry’s leaders across the world regarding the current situation, expectations for the future, which measures are being implemented to react to these new challenges, and to finally share all these findings with the entire industry in order to provide an effective support in decision making.

The impact

Visitors and buyers not being willing (or allowed) to travel and cash flow constraints remain the top 2 issues

What were the most relevant critical issues-shift in time of the event

75% of exhibition industry professionals consider visitors and buyers not being willing or able to travel to be the most critical issues they had to deal with because of the shift in time of the event.

This goes hand in hand with a very critical cash flow situation, which resulted in painful decisions for all organisers.

Overlapping with calendars of other events and the availability of venues to re-schedule the event is affecting primarily smaller event organisers (those organizing less than 5 events).

Initiatives taken during the pandemic

Which of the following initiatives has your organisation already taken

Event organisers are not standing still and waiting for the Covid-19 pandemic to be over

There is a strong increase in terms of initiatives implemented by event organisers during this pandemic.

Workshops and webinars hosted online have now been organised by more than 75% of them (it was 65% in July 2020). Virtual events became a reality, with now almost 7 every 10 respondents who presented it already or are about to.

On the adoption of these solutions, the size of the organiser is a key element, with larger companies offering it more than smaller counterparts.


How engaging are exhibition organisers towards their employees?

How would you rate the following aspects of your job

For the first time we measure how much employees are satisfied about working for an exhibition organiser and how engaged they are with the companies.

Sitting at the bottom of the ranking are the education opportunities offered by the company, particularly when it comes to venues and smaller businesses.


Does your organisation use continuous training programs






About the future…

We are still in the middle of the storm

W2-How likely is that trade shows will be held in the following periods

Expectations about the future are not great as yet. These are actually worse than they were in July 2020.

W2-When do you think your events will return tu 2019 levels


  • The Exhibition Industry Market Outlook offers a unique understanding of the pressures being felt throughout our industry at a global level.
  • The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on exhibitions is manifest, not only to organizers, but also to the market.
  • The aim of this research is to share and understand the industry leaders' point of view, their expectations for the future, and how they are reacting to these new challenges.
  • We are grateful to everyone who took part in the survey and we thank them for their time and for sharing their opinion.


Written by Andrea Piccin

Andrea Piccin is Partner & Managing Director of GRS Research & Strategy Middle East, the leading research company for Exhibitions, Visitor Attractions, and Large Events. The company is specialised in Customer Experience Optimization, Customer Satisfaction, Mystery Shopping, Market Outlooks, and Data Science. He is married and proud father of two wonderful babies


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