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Most important issues facing the exhibition industry worldwide 2020

In December 2020, the impact of COVID-19 on businesses was believed by the global exhibition industry to be the most important, with 29 percent of survey respondents citing the pandemic as the most important issue for the industry. Economic issues came next, with 19 percent of respondents citing the economy in home market, and 16 percent citing global economic developments, as the second and third most important issues for the industry.

The exhibition industry

The exhibition industry is a somewhat broad concept, including all organized events to present or display a selection of some type of item. At one end of the spectrum this includes public exhibitions of art or history in a gallery or museum, while at the other end are trade fairs, where goods and services associated with a specific industry are exhibited to invited guests only. Despite the variations both sides of the industry are business-focused – the most popular art exhibitions can attract upwards of a million visitors, while the trade fair industry generated global revenues of over 30 billion U.S. dollars in 2016.

Trade fairs

In many respects, the challenges facing the trade show industry are more complex than that facing the art and history exhibitions, given the restricted supply of items to be exhibited for the latter. Technological developments such as digital advertising social media may reduce the need for physical shows to create product awareness – although the two are not mutually exclusive, as the internet can also be used to promote exhibitions. The face-to-face nature of trade shows also provides a unique opportunity for networking. Interestingly, while the trade fair industry is largest in the United States, the largest trade fair organizers tend to be European companies.

Most important issues facing the exhibition industry worldwide as of June and December 2020

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Release date

January 2021



Survey time period

June and December 2020

Number of respondents


Special properties

Exhibition companies

Supplementary notes

*Survey count in December 2020 = 457. In June 2020 = 459.
The source does not specify the type of survey.

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Statistics on "Trade show and event marketing "

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