The State of the Event Industry 2021 Report

The State of the Event Industry 2021 Report

The State of the Event Industry 2021 Report

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100 Event Statistics (2021 Edition)

By EventMB Studio Team

Do you know all the key statistics that will affect the way you create events? Here is a comprehensive collection of 100 key statistics for the event industry in 2021.

The 2020 pandemic produced a revolution in the event industry that required planners to relearn and rethink everything from business models and sponsorship to event technology and content delivery. For better or for worse, 2020 changed everything. Whether the industry remembers it as a catalyst or catastrophe will largely depend on how event professionals adapt and navigate the uncertain times to come.

As event professionals move forward and try to forecast the future of the industry, EventMB will continue to release research that takes the pulse of the industry, establishes benchmarks, and helps the industry to contextualize the changes and establish trends.

The data, facts and figures EventMB has collected have been broken down to cover the following 10 essential areas:

Chapter 1: Event Industry Statistics

Chapter 2: Virtual Event Statistics

Chapter 3: Event Success and ROI

Chapter 4: Meeting Design Statistics

Chapter 5: Event Marketing Statistics

Chapter 6: Event Technology Statistics

Chapter 7: Event Sponsorship Statistics

Chapter 8: Event Management Company Statistics

Chapter 9: Event Venue Statistics

Chapter 10: Event Destination Statistics

 

Event Industry Statistics

  • 45% and 28% of event websites in North America and Europe, respectively, included information about their diversity and inclusivity policies. (EventMB, 2019)
  • 99% of speaker panels are representative when it comes to the inclusion of female speakers, while the percentage of representative speaker panels in terms of BIPOC and Black speakers is 86% and 67%, respectively. (EventMB, 2020)
  • 35-40% of events don't even have one Black speaker. (EventMB, 2020)
  • Streaming experiences can reduce total climate pollution from events by 60-98%. (Eventcellany, 2020)
  • 58% to 67% of eventprofs are very likely or completely likely to address sustainability in their meeting plans for 2021. (Global Meetings & Events Forecast, 2021).
  • Globally, 67% of eventprofs are including explicit language around safety and security in their meetings and events policy. (Global Meetings & Events Forecast, 2021).

 

EVENT INDUSTRY CORONAVIRUS RECOVERY STATISTICS

  • 30% of planners wouldn’t attend in-person meetings under any circumstances, and an additional 32.7% would attend only if the meetings were both small and local. A mere 14% have no qualms whatsoever. (EventMB, 2020)
  • Most eventprofs believe that in-person events will return in the second half of 2021 — 30% are betting on Q3, while 27.5% believe they'll return in Q2. (EventMB, 2020)
  • Safety continues to be the number one issue for event planners. 55% cited safety concerns as the biggest obstacle to hosting live events. (EventMB, 2020)
  • Access to a vaccine is the biggest game changer for restarting live events, with 51% of planners noting this as the factor that would make them feel most confident in planning live physical events. (EventMB, 2020)
  • 61% of medical conference attendees would be uncomfortable traveling to the US to attend a medical conference in the first quarter of 2021. A further 20 percent are “unsure.” (FHTglobal, 2020)
  • 21% of eventprofs believe small and simple meetings will be the most common type of meeting held in 2021, in all formats (in-person, hybrid, and virtual), followed by internal meetings at 18%. (Global Meetings & Events Forecast, 2021).
  • 66.5% of eventprofs plan to use hybrid as their go-to format once in-person events resume. (EventMB, 2020)
  • 65% of visitors and 57% of exhibitors expect that digital event technology will still have utility after the pandemic ends. (Reed Exhibitions, 2020)
  • Almost three quarters of planners (71%) plan to continue to employ a digital strategy to maintain their virtual audience once they return to physical events. (EventMB, 2020)

 

Virtual Event Statistics

  • In 2019, 39% of event professionals agree that ‘engaging attendees’ is the most crucial element of a live event. (EventMB, 2019)
  • 73% of planners have been able to successfully pivot their event to virtual. (EventMB, 2020)
  • 57% of attendees believe that they can conduct the majority of their event objectives online. (Reed Exhibitions, 2020)
  • 34% of planners consider increased attendance the most positive result of pivoting to virtual, followed by lower overhead costs (27%). (EventMB, 2020)
  • 43% of virtual event registrants attend live, while 13% attend on demand. (Intrado, 2020)

 

THE VALUE OF EVENTS

  • As of March 2020, the exhibition and events industry had lost 14.4 billion euros (16.5 billion USD). (UFI, 2020)
  • The global virtual events market size was valued at $77.98 billion in 2019 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 23.2% from 2020 to 2027. (Grand View Research, 2020)
  • Since the beginning of March, the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in over $500 billion in cumulative losses for the U.S. travel economy. (U.S. Travel Association, 2020)

 

WORKING IN THE EVENT INDUSTRY

  • Updated in September 2020, the projected growth for meeting, convention and event planners is expected to increase 9% in the USA between 2019-2029. (The Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2020)
  • Over 50% of UK event job postings emphasized compliance with regulatory policies. (EventMB report, 2019)
  • As of March 2020, 90% of event professionals saw some or most of their business gone. 2.75% were left unemployed and only 5% were minimally impacted. (EventMB, 2020)
  • As of November 2020, 52% of eventprofs have lost income as a result of the pandemic, while 11% have been furloughed and 10% have been laid off. (EventMB, 2020)
  • $55,707 is the average event planner salary in New York City, USA (Glassdoor, 2021).
  • £29,743 is the average salary for event planners in London, UK (Glassdoor, 2021)..
  • Almost three fourths of planners, or 73.6 %, have become more proficient or much more proficient in tech as a result of the pandemic, which will be important as the industry transitions further to virtual and eventually hybrid events in the coming months. (EventMB, 2020)

 

EVENT BUDGETS

  • 41.5% of event professionals are willing to pay up to $5,000 for virtual event tech, while only 19% are willing to pay more than $15,000. (EventMB, 2020)
  • Expected meeting spend for 2021 in North Americais down 6% compared to 2020. (Global Meetings & Events Forecast, 2021).
  • Given a 10% increase in budget, 33% of eventprofs would prefer to use the extra funds to improve the on-site experience, while 31% would increase the use of technology. (Global Meetings & Events Forecast, 2021).

 

TYPES OF EVENTS

  • In North America, internal team meetings/trainings are the most common meeting activity type, with 17% of the market in 2020. Internal team meetings/trainings represent 19% for Europe, 16% for Asia Pacific and 19% for Central/South America. (Global Meetings & Events Forecast, 2021)
  • In the US, 53% of attendees participate in corporate and business meetings, 18% in conventions, conferences and congresses without an exhibition floor and 16% in trade shows or conferences with an exhibiting component. 6% participated in incentive meetings and 6% in other meetings. (Oxford Economics and Events Industry Council, 2018)

 

CORPORATE EVENTS

  • The average percentage of corporate event budget dedicated to AV is 27%, but the biggest challenge for corporate planners is staying on budget (44%), and budgets into 2020 and beyond are going to be severely impacted. (EventMB, 2020)
  • 76% of corporate planners used their own space to host events in 2019, which means that they will have an easier time securing low-risk, socially distant spaces for speakers and presenters or simply facilitating these events from home. AV could be very useful in rendering these spaces video-ready, or helping stakeholders set up (with props, cameras, lights, etc.) for live streaming from their home. (EventMB, 2020)
  • In 2019, team building events were the most commonly-planned internal event, with 49% of corporate planners indicating that they often plan this type of event. While formats have since changed, finding ways to connect employees remains as important as ever — especially as people continue to work from home. (EventMB, 2019)

Event Success And Roi

  • 76% of current job ads demand that event professionals be capable of establishing the business value of events. (EventMB, 2019)
  • 91% measure the success of their events on attendee satisfaction. 61% measure according to their specific event objectives and 60% determine results based on staying within budget. (EventMB, 2018) Graph available.
  • 28% of eventprofs were able to pivot to virtual profitably, while 10.8% were able to exceed their physical event. (EventMB, 2020)
  • 39% of planners expected to be able to recoup at least 25 percent of their revenue by pivoting to virtual events in 2020. (EventMB, 2020)
  • 32% of planners do not charge for or do not make revenue from their virtual events, which will need to change in 2021 if virtual events are to stick around. (EventMB, 2020)

Meeting Design

  • 36% of planners consider engagement their biggest challenge when pivoting to virtual. (EventMB, 2020)
  • 45.9% of planners rely on in-house production for the production aspect of their virtual events, while 32.5% are outsourcing this aspect to external production companies and 21.6% rely on their virtual event tech providers. (EventMB, 2020)

Event Marketing Statistics

  • Event planners listed social media as the most effective tool for event marketing (74%), followed by email marketing (66%), their website (60%) and event registration site (26%). (EventMB, 2018) Graph available.
  • 66% also believe that a low barrier to entry and competition in the virtual event space has become a significant concern. (EventMB, 2020)

 

SOCIAL MEDIA FOR EVENTS

 

EMAIL MARKETING

  • Subject lines under 21 characters generate a 31% higher-than-average open rate, yet shorter subject lines account for less than 5% of all emails sent. (Charity Digital News, 2017)
  • Open rates of between 60-87% often include the company name in the title with straightforward and honest subjects such as [company name] newsletter, Invitation from [company name] or Upcoming Events at [company name] (Mailchimp, 2017)
  • 2% of all emails included personalization in the subject line, however, these emails generated 50% higher open rates than those without personalization. (Mailchimp, 2017)
  • Emails in the event and entertainment niche have a 21.21% open rate on average and a 2.33% click-through rate. (Mailchimp, 2017)
  • Other statistics suggest email marketing campaigns within the event industry perform far worse at 9.38%, which puts the event industry in the lower results compared to other sectors. (Smart Insights, 2018)
  • Only 47% of event planners analyze their email or email invitation data. (EventMB Report, 2018) Graph available.

 

CONTENT MARKETING

 

VIDEO

 

WORKING WITH INFLUENCERS

  • 24% of B2B content marketers use media/influencer relations as an organic content distribution channel, a drop from 34% in 2019. (Content Marketing Institute, 2020)
  • 92% of marketers consider influencer marketing is an effective form of marketing, and  82% believe that the quality of customers from influencer marketing campaigns is better than from other forms of marketing. (Influencer Marketing Hub, 2019)
  • 25% of event planners are considering investing in influencer marketing. 43% are not sure and 33% are not. (EventMB, 2018) Graph available.

Event Technology Statistics

  • 53% of eventprofs consider themselves comfortable or savvy with virtual event tech. (EventMB, 2020)
  • 51.5% of planners say that the inability to match live engagement is the most frustrating thing when it comes to sourcing virtual event tech, and 25.4% say cost is the biggest challenge. (EventMB, 2020)
  • Most virtual event tech providers either offer or integrate with live streaming tools or platforms (92%), registration tools (86%), and mobile event apps (80%). (EventMB, 2020)
  • When it comes to live streaming, the two most common features available from event tech providers are the ability to facilitate both live and pre-recorded sessions (75%) and multi-track streams (70%). (EventMB, 2020)
  • The vast majority (58%) of virtual tech providers offer both native apps and web-based ways to access the virtual event. Nearly 32% of the remaining platforms offer web-based solutions that can be accessed on a browser, presumably also on mobile devices — meaning that at least 90% of providers allow attendees to participate on any device they choose. (EventMB, 2020)

 

EVENT APPS

  • The most-used event app feature is agenda/sessions, used by 98.3% of eventprofs, followed by the sponsors/exhibitors listing (93%) and the speakers listing (89.3%). (EventMB, 2020)
  • 86% of apps are using AI in some form, which includes chatbots, facial recognition, smart matchmaking, and sentiment analysis.(EventMB, 2020)
  • The availability of AI-powered attendee matchmaking in event apps has increased from 41.5% in 2019 to to 67% for both proximity and non-proximity based recommendations in 2020. (EventMB, 2020)
  • The availability of chatbots decreased to 16.5% from 22.3% last year. (EventMB, 2020)
  • 57% of app providers include recommendations of nearby places, events, and experiences to attendees, while 65% include personalized session or content recommendations. (EventMB, 2020)
  • The average maximum price of an event app is $15,000, which is up substantially from average maximum price in 2019 of $9,600. (EventMB, 2020)
  • Most app companies (41%) charge according to features — the number of companies charging by number of attendees decreased by 9 percentage points in 2020, from 30% in 2019 to about 21% in 2020. (EventMB, 2020)
  • The majority of app developers, about 76%, say that demand in the event app space is higher than it was last year. Another 21% say that demand is about the same. Only 1% say that demand is lower this year than it was last year. (EventMB, 2020)
  • App adoption rates overall tended to be high, with nearly 40% of developers stating an adoption rate of over 80%. Another 35% of developers claimed an adoption rate of 60% to 80%. (EventMB, 2020)
  • About 54% of event app providers state that clients interact the most with the agenda on their event apps. Another 49% say that clients interact the most with engagement elements, like gamification, live polls and feedback, etc. (EventMB, 2020)

 

EVENT MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE

  • 14% of jobs demanded experience with operating an event management software program. (EventMB, 2019)
  • The most important consideration in event management software is support (79%), followed by the features (78%) and analytics (69%). Value for money is listed by 67% of event planners and for 58% it is important that they are not limited in terms of the number of events or attendees. (EventMB, 2018) Graph available.
  • 18.8% of event planners used different event technology providers rather than an all-in-one solution in 2019, though the pivot to virtual events in 2020 has likely radically changed this. (EventMB, 2019)

Event Sponsorship Statistics

  • Sponsorships are the primary source of virtual event revenue for 23% of planners. (EventMB, 2020)
  • In terms of sponsorship opportunities, the top three features offered by virtual event tech providers are sponsor/exhibitor profiles (78%), analytics/reporting (77%), and banners in high traffic areas (70%). (EventMB, 2020)
  • Across all verticals, combo sponsorship packages dominated in 2019, making up 67% of all event packages and combining awareness and value offerings. (EventMB, 2019)
  • Nearly 25% of providers don’t offer any sort of analytics for proving sponsor ROI. (EventMB, 2020)

Event Management Company Statistics

  • 6% of eventprofs reported closing their businesses as a result of the pandemic while a full 79.5% lost business. (EventMB, 2020)
  • Only 14.5 percent of event planning companies experienced no impact from the pandemic. (EventMB, 2020)
  • 30.5% of companies lost 75 to 90 percent of their business in 2020. (EventMB, 2020)
  • Networking is the most effective strategy for event planners to find new clients (66%), followed by social media (45%). (EventMB, 2018) Graph available.

Event Venue Statistics

  • Safety standards are the most important venue selection criterion (noted by 56% of planners), while masks/PPE is the least important (noted by only 8% of planners). (EventMB, 2020)
  • Only 11% of eventprofs received an insurance payout from their provider following the cancellation of an event, while 45% are not expecting a payout. (PCMA, 2020)
  • Mid-tier properties are the most popular venue type for 2021, with eventprofs indicating that 37% of events this year will take place in that property type, followed by nontraditional meeting facilities at 16.8%. (Global Meetings & Events Forecast, 2021).
  • In 2019, 10% of negotiated hotel room blocks were 50% more expensive than equivalent accommodations on booking sites. Alternative accommodation options with equal or better amenities and within very short distances were priced 25.39% cheaper than negotiated rooms. This trend may be impacted by the pandemic if hotels resort to lowering rates in order to compete for dwindling business, but it will depend on the recovery and success of the leisure market. (EventMB, 2019)

Event Destination Statistics

  • 37% of planners value safety standards above all else when it comes to choosing a destination for their next event. The same criterion for venues ranked as most important for 56% of planners. This suggests planners expect venues to carry more weight than destinations when it comes to safeguarding their attendees. (EventMB, 2020)
  • In a post-Covid era, planners have little interest in what destinations normally have to offer – less than 2% consider attractions to be the most important factor when selecting an event destination. (EventMB, 2020)

 

IN CONCLUSION

These statistics should help you to contextualize and define the massive changes within the event industry in 2021.

Now onto you:

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EventMB Studio Team
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