UK exhibitions drive $11.7bn in trade according to EIA report

The UK exhibitions industry generates £9.4bn in trade (USD $11.7bn), attracts 6.1 million global visitors and provides 99,000 jobs, according to the latest Economic Impact Study from the Events Industry Alliance (EIA).

This report, the fourth of its kind, was first compiled in 2005 by KPMG and updated by Oxford Economics using the same metrics and indicators in 2011. Since then, Oxford Economics has continued to refine its methodology and since 2019, it has integrated data from the EIA’s Size and Scale Index of Events (SASiE) report. 

Based on the data provided by SASiE, there were around 969 exhibitions staged in the UK last year, involving 122,500 exhibitors. After accounting for indirect and induced impacts, UK exhibitions contributed £4.6bn to UK GDP. 

Chris Skeith, CEO, AEO and EIA director said: “Pre-pandemic, the industry steered £11 billion of trade into UK business and although we are not quite back at those levels, we are making significant progress. The events industry has proven its resilience and enduring presence, accounting for nearly £5bn of GDP, that’s not far off the 2019 report.” 

The EIA’s Economic Impact Study also calculates that in 2022, UK exhibitions contributed around £34,000 in direct spending per exhibitor. Based on a total of 0.60 million sqm of venue capacity measured in terms of gross indoor exhibition space (as reported in UFI’s World Map of Venues), direct spending per sqm of venue capacity amounted to £6,860.  

Andrew Harrison, director, ESSA and EIA concluded: The report clearly demonstrates the force of the events industry. We see the opportunities to drive incremental and considerable economic growth and are ready to take them.”