Forecast: Tradeshows to Grow 4 Percent Through 2014

Media and information industry private equity firm Veronis Suhler Stevenson this week  issued its annual VSS Communications Industry Forecast 2004-2014, which provides a five-year forecast of spending for revenue streams across 20 segments and 100 subsegments across communications. Tradeshows—a subsegment of Business-to-Business Media, which in turn is a subsegment of the Targeted Media category—are expected to show a slight gain through 2014.

“This year, tradeshows will decline, but over the five-year forecast we believe tradeshows will show a gain of about 4 percent going forward,” Hal Greenberg, partner, VSS Structured Capital Funds, tells EXPO. “Face-to-face marketing, broadly defined, has always been a good business, and we believe it will continue to be. There has been growth in e-tradeshows but they are still a small component compared to exhibit or attendee dollars.”

Calling the tradeshow market a “decent” economic environment moving forward, Greenberg says VSS expects sponsorship dollars—which have declined right along with traditional advertising revenues—will begin to rebound next year. “Sponsorship dollars follow the people, and if your event can show strong attendance, those dollars should come back,” he says. “Attendee revenues and numbers, as well as exhibitor revenues, have been strong so far this year.”

According to VSS, the Targeted Media category is made up of Pure-Play Consumer Internet & Mobile Services, Outsourced Custom Publishing, Branded Entertainment, Direct Marketing and Business-to-Business. While the first three subsegments are expected to show double-digit growth, Direct Marketing and Business-to-Business are projected to generate low single-digit growth.

Overall, VSS predicts that total communications industry spending is on pace to increase 3.5 percent in 2010 and post a compound annual growth rate of 6.1 percent between 2009 and 2014 to $1.416 trillion.