The International Association of Exhibitions and Events™ (IAEE) released today an updated version of its white paper, Future Trends Impacting the Exhibitions and Events Industry, created by the IAEE Future Trends Task Force, chaired by Francis J. Friedman, President of Time & Place Strategies, Inc.
Originally released in 2013, the report identifies and addresses major trends that will impact the exhibitions and events industry within the next three years.
"Trends that we reported in white papers over the last two years are now maturing and appearing more consistently at exhibitions and events," said Friedman. "We recommend referring to these previous reports for what is happening now, and using this updated version to prepare for what's coming over the next three years."
Friedman noted that some of the major updates in the 2015 edition address the areas of data capture and converting the data obtained into business strategies and plans. Data security is also becoming an even more urgent concern for the industry, given the significant rise in data hacking. Physical security at venues and contingent plans to manage a potential "threat" are also an increasingly important aspect of managing an exhibition or event.
Education is another increasingly important element at trade shows and events. The industry will need to upgrade its teaching and learning approaches – and technologies – to accommodate the broad spectrum of changing attendee demographics and learning styles.
Finally, the exhibitions and events industry is concerned about the global economic picture ahead. Internationally, there is the crisis in the Middle East; a dramatic drop in the price of oil and other commodities; the economic slowdown in China; Europe's lack of growth at a sustained economic growth rate; and Japan still experiencing a very soft economy. The stock market has shown consistent growth since 2009. However, gurus predict the market will be in for a major "correction" (read as decline) within the next two years. The sharp drop in the market in August when China re-valued its currency was an indication of how sensitive the stock market is to larger economic forces. Domestically, the Federal Reserve (FED) may soon raise interest rates, which will increase the cost of borrowed money and investment capital across our entire economy. We can expect future rate increases in the years ahead, as well as the FED using the funds rate as a tool to keep the economy moving. Rate increases also increase the cost of government debt leading to tax increases, which in turn slow down economic development.
Friedman summarized that the task force saw the future ahead as one in which the exhibitions and events industry will continue to face significant ongoing changes across every aspect of producing a trade show.
"The information contained in this white paper is key to show organizers and valuable supplier partners as they formulate their strategic plans," said IAEE President & CEO David DuBois, CMP, CAE, FASAE, CTA. "Although show organizers are very adept at handling rapid changes, having a fairly good idea of what to expect is an invaluable aid, which is exactly what this publication provides."