Flat Attendance for International Christian Retail Show



Professional attendance at the 2010 International Christian Retail Show in St. Louis was 1,593, or flat, as compared to 1,605 in professional attendance in 2009, according to audited numbers reported by CBA (formerly the Christian Booksellers Association).

CBA is the trade association for the Christian Retail Channel, serving Christian bookstores, including independents, regional and national chains, church-owned stores, franchises, and marketing groups. These stores provide Bibles, Christian books, curriculum, apparel, music, videos, gifts, greeting cards, children’s resources, and other materials.

Professional attendance at this major annual show represents active buyers and is a standard metric developed by event planners to gauge show performance for exhibitors.

Curtis Riskey, CBA executive director, attempted to minimize the disappointing figures. He said that ICRS overall total attendance was still ahead of the curve when considered within the context of the recent report by the Center for Exhibition Research (CEIR) that found the Consumer Goods and Retail Trade sector had an average overall decrease in total show performance of 16 percent. As the trade-show industry changes, it is apparent that buyers and exhibitors are being more conservative in who is sent to the event. “Even though total numbers are down compared to a few years ago, it is apparent that the people attending are serious about their show investment and work hard to create a return.”

Total attendance was down by two percent from 2009. However, this is calculated from a corrected attendance number for 2009 that was incorrectly reported a year ago. Total 2010 ICRS attendance, after an audit by CBA’s registration service provider Showcare, was 4,647, compared to the audited 2009 attendance of 4,744. International attendance was up 4.5 percent with 371 attendees, compared to 354 in 2009.

The 2009 reporting error was discovered at this year’s ICRS during routine analysis by CBA staff. The mistake was attributed to human error caused by a number transposition last year. The 2009 ICRS attendance report of down 20 percent from 2008 should have been reported as down an even greater 36 percent. The corrected decline is more in line with overall trade show performance in 2009, when a severe recession was under way.

 Published on: Aug 22, 2010

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