The potential of India’s exhibitions market Expert Opinion

Nidhi Sharma, executive director of the Indian Exhibition Industry Association (IEIA), outlines her government’s support for exhibitions in India and their importance to the economy.


It is a well-known fact that India is fast outpacing other developing countries in terms of GDP growth rate and the size of its economy.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) counts India as a source of considerable growth for the global economy over the next few decades, following in the financial footsteps of China.

Recently ranked third in the world for the number of billionaires in the country, India is also contributing significantly to purchasing power parity measures, to the extent of a substantial 15% of the growth in the global economy.

This clearly indicates a great underlying potential in the country as a promising exhibitions market.

Looking into the state of structural reforms and the present state of the economy, India has already recovered from the effects of two major structural reforms taken by the Government of India by way of demonetisation and GST (Goods and Services tax) implementation.

In terms of ease of doing business, India has now fallen 30 places from its former ranking of 130th to 100th and is still rapidly improving, via many positive reforms implemented by the current government. India also ranks well for ease of trade imports and exports.

With regards to the outlook and specific performance of India’s exhibition industry, a recent report by UFI shows a highly positive outlook, with India occupying the highest position in terms of increased performance, followed by the U.S. and Germany.

This shows positive growth prospects inherent in the country’s exhibitions business.

India is also leading the way in the digitisation of its exhibitions businesses. Enhanced implementation and the use of digital channels are widely reported by a majority of players.

The sector split of exhibitions further reflects their relevancy to the Indian Government’s ‘Made in India’ initiative. The majority of sectors earmarked by the campaign are now represented by bourgeoning exhibitions.

With continued support by the Government, the Indian exhibitions sector is poised to register double digit growth in the coming few years.

Increased spend on infrastructure and expansion by existing exhibition venues, plus the opening of new venues, will only add to the overall growth of this sector.

Exhibition Industry growth rates in India are currently above the regional average in Asia i.e. around 8% during the last two-three years.

With continuous efforts by the industry’s association- IEIA (Indian Exhibition Industry Association), the Government is considering the inclusion of exhibitions as part of a list of championed sectors – those that are required to fuel the overall growth of the Indian economy.

The association is also working hard towards streamlining the organisation of exhibitions in various regions, again with positive support from the Government.

With an increasing number of professionals and organisations showing an interest for professional international level training programs around exhibition management, like CEM (certified in exhibitions management), the need for high-quality professionals in the industry is also being met and enabled by IEIA, supporting further growth and performance standards in the sector.

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Exhibition World hosts great guests on its pages. Our Expert Opinion section is a unique collection of the best ideas from the best professionals in the international events industry.