The latest quarterly survey of the Italian exhibitions industry produced by the Economic Observatory of AEFI (Associazione Esposizioni e Fiere Italiane), paints an overall positive picture.
The 39th quarterly survey of trends in the country’s exhibitions sector covers the October-December 2018 period and indicates positive comparisons both relative to the previous quarter and in comparison with the same period of the previous year.
The survey confirms that the Italian tradefair sector appears to be bucking the Italian economic downturn.
The qualitative survey, which involved 26 AEFI-member tradefair districts showed positive trends for members’ turnover and for the first months of 2019.
The number of exhibitions started to grow again over the last quarter (42% of the districts in the survey hosted more shows and 46% recorded a static situation).
A total figure of +31% growth is higher than that of the third quarter of 2017, at +15%.
The number of exhibitors increased significantly: just under half of the 26 members who took part in the survey reported an increase, while a fifth reported a downturn.
The balance of +31% – the difference between those who foresee an increase and those who foresee a decrease – indicates a clear positive performance, in line with the end of 2017 and slightly up over the previous quarter (+29%).
An analysis of exhibitor countries shows that both Italians and Europeans are increasing their participation (+27% and +23% respectively). The totals for non-EU country exhibitors are still positive, although somewhat less so (+8%).
Rented exhibition space is also up. The balance of +27% is lower with respect to the previous quarter, but is definitely positive compared to the same period of the previous year (+19%).
The greatest contribution to the total rented space was made by Italian exhibitors (up +23%), followed by other Europeans at +15%. The area booked by non-EU exhibitors remains unchanged.
The AEFI Observatory figures are confirmed through comparison with the analysis performed by ISFCERT, the Certification Institute for Exhibition Industry Statistics.
If we compare the trend for the last two editions of 75 international Italian exhibitions (57 annual, 14 two-yearly and four three-yearly) - out of the total 94 ISFCERT-certified exhibitions held in 2018 - it is clear that the number of visitors is growing, as well as the number of exhibitors and total rented space.
In detail: visitors increased by 3.7% in total, with foreign visitor numbers growing by +12.5%; overall. The figures also point to an increase in exhibitors of +2,2% (foreigners up 5,8%).
Finally, with regard to overall rented space, the professional exhibitions certified in 2018 were up +4.7%.
Chaired by Giovanni Laezza, AEFI includes 35-member exhibition districts, which organise over 1,000 events a year over an overall exhibition area of 4.2m sqm.