Feeling disheartened about the delayed return of face-to-face events? Findings of a new extensive global study focused on the recovery of the trade show industry should help spread some positive vibes about the value of shows when they do return. Conducted in July by live events research specialists Explori in partnership with UFI and SISO, the Global Recovery Insights study demonstrates the incredible value of face-to-face events by how strongly their absence has impacted the global business community.
Released on Aug. 3, the study comprises more than 9,000 survey responses from exhibiting companies and trade show attendees from 30 countries. The interim findings demonstrate that the cancellation of B2B events is having a strong negative impact on the companies that rely upon them.
“With trade shows running safely in more markets around the world, we are starting to feel more positive as an industry,” said Kai Hattendorf, CEO of UFI. “These results support that optimism, showing that the businesses who participate in our shows are missing the value that face-to-face brings and trade shows play a key role in driving economic recovery.”
For example, two-thirds of exhibiting companies surveyed reported that trade show cancellations have had a notable, detrimental impact on their businesses that have reduced their ability to build brand awareness with their target markets. Half of these businesses expressed this impact as being “very large,” according to the study. In addition, 50 percent of companies stated that the absence of live events was negatively affecting their ability to generate new business.
Of those who attend B2B events, 90 percent said they had been negatively impacted by not being able to attend in-person shows, while nine out of 10 stated that alternative solutions such as virtual events were not as effective as live events in meeting their professional needs.
“When we embarked on this project, most markets were in lockdown and the outlook for the industry was uncertain,” said Sophie Holt, global strategy director for Explori. “Some commentators felt that a shift away from live to virtual events would be a long-term outcome of the pandemic. However, these results suggest that whilst virtual events have an important role to play, especially in bringing events to new audiences, our customers are eager for the return of in-person events.”
Holt added that Explori and UFI will be conducting a further phase of research in the near future to further understand global event attendee and exhibitor sentiments as more markets open for business.
Further study results will be released in the coming weeks via the UFI Connects webinar series, with the full report to be available by mid-September. To request a copy of the full report, go here.
Lisa Plummer Savas