2021 proved to be another year full of ups and downs. If ‘virtual’ was the buzzword in 2020, ‘hybrid’ was the zeitgeist for 2021. Virtual and hybrid events attracted a geographically distributed audience and enabled organizations to build awareness and expand their reach exponentially. According to a survey by Events MB, 73% of event planners successfully transitioned their events to digital platforms.
Hybrid events provided endless opportunities for event professionals to connect and drive engagement between in-person & virtual attendees, sponsors, and exhibitors. Several large-format events including FinCon 2021, Apple Special Events, The New Yorker Festival, etc. were hosted in a hybrid format. Amidst constant changes in restrictions due to the pandemic, the events industry adapted, transformed itself and emerged more powerful than ever.
As the events industry continues to ebb and flow depending on the COVID situation, we have compiled a list of some interesting statistics that reveal the industry trends in 2021.
Virtual events opened up new doors and provided a unique opportunity for organisers to host events that attract global audiences. These events offer virtual booths for sponsors and exhibitors, online networking, and virtual meeting opportunities for attendees across the globe. To understand the virtual events landscape, we’ve compiled a list of a few virtual events statistics. These have been gathered from multiple sources and surveys.
- 93% of event professionals plan to invest in virtual events in the coming future. (Bizzabo)
- The virtual events industry is expected to grow to $400 billion by 2027. (Eventus)
- 80% of marketers say that virtual events reach a wider audience than in-person events. (Bishop. McCann)
- About 52% of B2B marketers say they conduct between 20-30 virtual events per year with 21% of the participants saying they host over 30 virtual events annually. (Statista)
- 80% of folks attend virtual events for educational reasons, followed by networking purposes.(Markletic)
- 63% of event marketers and respondents believe the ideal time for a virtual round table talk ranges from 60 to 90 minutes. (Markletic)
- 59% host webinars for lead generation and marketing purposes such as promoting their brand, product, or service. (Vimeo)
- 45.7% of marketers say that the primary goal of virtual events is to generate a sales pipeline. (Markletic)
- 57% use virtual events to educate and engage with their customers. (Vimeo)
- 55% of marketers share that the top three goals for their online events include: customer relations, education, and retention (Bizzabo)
- Around 34% of event planners view increased attendance as “the most positive result of pivoting to virtual, followed by lower overhead costs. (EventMB)
Virtual Event Engagement
Engagement is the ultimate criterion for the success of any virtual event. While many companies use virtual events to educate or generate leads, one thing that virtual event planners cannot overlook is their audience engagement strategy. Content, speakers, and engagement tools are critical to ensuring that attendees can maximize their time at virtual events.
- 82% of B2B marketers think that attendee engagement is an essential KPI for online event success. (Bizzabo)
- Small gatherings, networking events, and round table discussions are the three “most popular” (in this order) virtual event types. (Markletic)
- 64% and 63% of participants agree that the quality of speakers and relevance of content, respectively encourage them to sign up for events. (Vimeo)
- On average, online attendees watch 68% of a 20-minute or longer session (Bizzabo)
- 29% of online sessions’ attendees watch only 20% of the average session with 26% viewing only 10% of the average session (Bizzabo)
- 75% of folks sign up for 1-5 virtual events per month with half of them attending all events they sign up for. (Vimeo)
Hybrid events offer broader access to audiences globally by overcoming geographical barriers and logistical challenges. It includes global access to a highly qualified audience that determines the overall success of an event. The hybrid model allows organizations to maintain connections with existing clients and target new business opportunities across the globe. In the hybrid world, interaction and engagement is a result of both the in-person side as well as live attendees. Also, the virtual registrants’ ability to attend the event from any part of the world makes hybrid a lucrative event type.
- As much as 89% of organizers use attendee satisfaction as a measurement of hybrid event success.
- 23% of organizers used the Net Promoter Score to measure the success of their hybrid event.
- 1% of event planners said their biggest challenge was connecting the in-person audience with the virtual audience.
- 35% of event organizers struggled to find “the right venue” for a hybrid event.
- Almost half (46%) of organizers said event speakers “had difficulties engaging a virtual and in-person audience simultaneously.
- A third (34%) of organizers said they expect to invest in hybrid events in the coming years.
- Over half (57%) of respondents prefer the in-person side of the hybrid event over the virtual one.
- For hybrid events run by small-and-medium businesses (SMBs), attendees for the in-person side of the event averaged 56%, while the average for the virtual side of the event averaged 44%.
Virtual Events Industry Costs
Virtual events are poised to grow over the coming years with more investments in a variety of resources.
- Before the pandemic, the global events industry was expected to be worth $1.1 trillion in 2018. And, is predicted to grow to $2.3 trillion by 2026 (Allied Market Research)
- The global online events market size was estimated to be $94.04 billion in 2020 and is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 23.7% from 2021 to 2028 (Grand View Research)
- Most of the virtual event budget is taken up by the virtual event platform, followed by costs for speakers and moderators. (Markletic)
- As much as 84% of businesses who conducted a virtual event said they spent less than they did when running in-person events. (Wild Apricot)
- Many companies allocate around 10% to 20% of their marketing budget to online events. (Markletic)
Virtual Event App
Event apps bring value to an event for organizers, sponsors, and participants alike. The primary goal of any event app is to serve attendees by delivering up-to-date information, enabling unique interactions and stimulating attendee engagement. Event apps brings unique opportunities to provide extra visibility for event sponsors and includes monetization features such as lead capturing for exhibitors.
- A third (30%) of businesses use an event app (on mobile phones) for their online event. (Markletic)
- Marketers reported the top reasons for using an event app were session registration and reviewing the agenda. (Markletic)
- Over three quarters (78%) of organizations said using an event app resulted in “positive event ROI.” (Markletic)
From the rapid shift of in-person events to virtual platforms or to incorporate hybrid events as in-person events return, the past two years have changed our perspective towards events. The statistics revolving around the events industry will continue to change over time as companies place a priority on bringing their events to the next level.