The EU and geographical Europe represent the largest region in the exhibition world with 48 % of the world capacity of exhibition venues and with 44 % of the annual exhibitions taking place globally. 49 % of the net exhibition space occupied worldwide was rented out in Europe. 1.4 million exhibiting companies welcome 260 million visitors per year in Europe.
Quality and diversity
The quality and diversity of venues and exhibition is the basis for the success of the European exhibition industry. They provide competitive advantages: central geographical location, excellent infrastructure and transport connections, modern venues, comparatively reasonable prices and a high level of service. An exhibition offers a platform for companies belonging to a particular industry sector to showcase their products or services, targeting a specific audience, e.g. trade visitors/buyers or the general public, at a specific time of the year for about typically 3-7 days in one place. A successful exhibition not only reflects current trends and discusses developments in economy, society and research in the globalised world; it creates a platform for innovation and new ideas across cultures or national borders.
Services and innovation
The European exhibition industry offers reliable service quality and innovation including classical services like logistics, stand construction, catering, hotel and travel arrangements, hostess and interpretation services and so on. Added value is delivered by congresses, seminars, trend showcases, data and studies. Further added value is offered in tailor-made formats and independently of the exhibition location and time via the internet or mobile applications.
European exhibitions are being transferred successfully into emerging and growth markets outside Europe by exporting brands or establishing new global brands. European exporters can access markets worldwide via exhibitions produced by European organisers. The close link between European-organised events in emerging markets with the original “home” shows helps to direct global exhibitors and buyers back into Europe.
Partnering with exhibiting industries
Successful exhibition organisers in Europe partner closely with the industries for which they organise events, including all stakeholders like direct and indirect customers, their associations, service providers, shareholders and other political authorities, media and the public. Over 80 % of the exhibitors are SMEs. Their needs are specifically targeted by European exhibition organisers, offering business sector information, commerce and education in order to maximise their benefit from an effective and intensive trade fair participation.
Operation environment and history
Worldwide, exhibition venues are mostly publicly owned. The centre management normally is organised as a private enterprise. Many exhibition organisers are independent from the venues and numerous service providers work for the exhibition industry, from stand constructors to entrance system providers. Most companies in the exhibition sector in Europe are SMEs.
European venues are being operated currently in a difficult economic environment. European exhibition companies complement slowed down growth in Europe with successful activities in growing economies abroad. However, their main aim in Europe is to maintain the leading position as to size and quality of venues and of events organised, thus defending their role as market leaders and innovation drivers in the exhibition sector worldwide.
The role and success of European trade fairs and exhibitions emerged way back in history. The tradition of trade fairs was established in late medieval Europe, in the era of merchant capitalism when craft producers visited towns for trading fairs to sell their products. From the mid-19th century, modern exhibitions started with industrial exhibitions in Europe and North America. They reflected the technological progress of the industrial era. The universal exhibitions “EXPOs” were a worldwide showcase for the latest inventions and technological progress. Nowadays, exhibitions are diversified per sector and function.