Credibility and professionalism, new business models and richer portfolio, investments – these are the hallmarks of exhibitions in Poland

Another exhibition year is behind us and once again the results of the Polish market confirm that the trade fairs and exhibitions organized in Poland remain the focus of national and international clients – domestic and foreign exhibitors and visitors. In cooperation with CENTREX – International Exhibition Statistics Union, Polish Chamber of Exhibition Industry has once again conducted an audit of statistical data of exhibitions in Poland organized by PCEI Members.  Final results have been published earlier this in the CENTREX annual report (www.centrexstat.org ) and in the Trade Fairs in Poland 2017 Report, available at www.polfair.pl (Publications).

The growth of the gross global product (2.9% – 2016 and as much as 4.6% – 2017 – well above the EU average) stimulated mainly, according to data from the Chief Statistical Office, the growing wealth of the society and the increase in consumption (individual consumption accelerated from 3.9% in 2016 to 4.8% in 2017), and a rebound in investments in 2017 (increase by 5.4%), as well as good foreign trade results (increase in exports, but also in imports ), are proof that the Polish economy is catching up and has entered a phase of robust growth. Experts estimate that further investment acceleration is expected thanks to European funds, while the challenge is to accelerate the implementation of high technologies and increase the innovativeness of the Polish economy.

This economic situation translates into good results of exhibitions in Poland, both in the case of investment and consumer events, and also means good prospects for the near future for exhibitions organizers in Poland, operators of exhibition and conference venues and suppliers of professional services for exhibitions and their clients.  The current situation has already resulted in new development strategies for exhibition companies, growing diversification of their activities, implementation of new business models and subsequent investments in exhibition infrastructure. Keeping up with the changing needs of exhibitors and visitors at exhibitions, professional approach to business and care for the high level of services are a prerequisite for the Polish market to stay on the growth path. With that in mind, Polish Chamber of Exhibition Industry supports its members by caring for raising knowledge in all aspects of their business operations, and equipping them with the necessary marketing arguments, i.e. exhibition statistical data which have been confirmed by the CENTREX audit and are therefore reliable and comparable on an international level. 

The results of the PCEI and CENTREX study indicate that in 2017 the total exhibition space contracted by exhibitors at 193 exhibitions in Poland amounted to 785,187 sq. m.  These exhibitions, similarly to 2016, were visited by over one and a half million (1,503,313) professionals from various industries and consumers. The number of exhibitors at audited exhibitions totalled 26,645. This figure included 22% (5,853 companies) of international exhibitors, i.e. foreign exhibitors and multinational exhibitors, i.e. enterprises conducting business activity in more than one country. These are both companies – subsidiaries and branches of foreign companies which have their registered office in Poland, as well as national companies with headquarters and branches abroad. This result means an increase in the percentage of international exhibitors in 2017 by around 6% compared to previous years.

As in previous years, in 2017, the Polish market witnessed operations of exhibition organizers who are still outside the research area of ​​CENTREX and PCEI, and who are invited to cooperation. So far, however, the research methodology of exhibition statistics published and shared with the media by these organizers is not known, and thus, it is not clear whether these data are comparable internationally with statistics audited by one of the specialized auditors associated in UFI – the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry.

 It is a great pity that PCEI does not have detailed knowledge of these exhibitions and is not able to take their results into account in its statistical reports, however the Chamber’s sole task, as the only reliable source of information about the Polish market, is the care for the publication of transparent, high-quality quantitative and qualitative data.

Poznan International Fair is an unchallenged leader among Polish exhibition organizers.

 According to CENTREX, in 2017 PIF contracted to exhibitors almost 47% of the total exhibition space (365, 299 sq. m.), hosted 34% of exhibitors in total (9,057), including 41% of international exhibitors (2,390) and 45% of visitors (672,697).  Kielce Fair occupies the second position on the market, with 28% of the total contracted exhibition space, 26% of the total number of exhibitors, 30% of international exhibitors and 16.5% of visitors. The third organizer on the Polish market is Targi w Krakowie, which offered its clients 40,161 sq. m. of the exhibition space (more than 5%), hosted 3,201 exhibitors (including 738 international exhibitors), and 141,510 visitors (9.4%). 

However, numbers are not the only thing that matters. The shape of the Polish exhibition industry is changing. The leading exhibition companies monitor world trends and economic processes, sense the opportunities which open in various areas, implement well-thought-out development strategies and they carry out inevitable changes. In this respect, Poland goes head to head with the largest European exhibition markets, such as Germany, Italy, France, Great Britain or Spain. And it is not just about the exhibition infrastructure, which is being modernized and expanded, because the latest exhibition investments concern such areas as digital systems of facility management, architecture and design, energy efficiency, security inside the facility, or access to the facility and logistics. 

Qualitative changes also consist in the implementation by the exhibition organizers of new business models, expanding the portfolio, and they also concern the exhibitions themselves.

In response to new expectations and growing requirements from exhibitors and visitors, trade fairs and exhibitions adopt new formulas. Hybrid models, which combine elements of exhibitions, conferences and festivals, are more and more popular. The very stay of exhibitors and visitors at high-quality events in Poland today requires support of modern digital technologies. This applies to the registration processes of exhibition participants and the management of their stay in the venue.

Polish Chamber of Exhibition Industry recommends to exhibitors and visitors all trade fairs and exhibitions organized by its Members, particularly those holding the “Exhibition recommended by PCEI” certificate.  More information available at www.polfair.pl.