The majority of attendees and exhibitors in the US plan to return to face-to-face events by the autumn of 2021. According to a new study released by Freeman
, 78 percent of attendees expect to attend in-person events in autumn 2021, increasing to 94 percent by winter. Exhibitors are slightly more optimistic with 80 percent returning this autumn, 95 percent will do so by winter. Furthermore, 85 percent of respondents say in-person events are irreplaceable because of their ability to drive commerce and networking that creates partnerships and innovation. These results are based on data from more than 1 million US event attendees, exhibitors, organisers and brand marketers.
Vaccination propels confidence and interest in returning to large in-person events with 86 percent more confident in doing so once vaccinated. Interestingly, trade show attendees, suppliers and exhibitors report being more willing to immediately receive the vaccine than the average person in the US. The overall Confidence Index in returning to in-person events is measured at 75 percent, up from an all-time low in spring 2020 in the 40s. Sixty-eight percent of attendees and 71 percent of exhibitors expect to have no corporate travel restrictions by Q3 2021.
Conducted by Freeman's Data Intelligence team — with more than 50 years of industry research experience — the research is based on data from more than 1 million US event attendees, exhibitors, organisers and brand marketers and includes 20 percent international attendees making it the most comprehensive offering of its kind in the industry. With a +/-1.2 percent margin of error, the full report is also segmented into detailed findings for the technology, healthcare, manufacturing, retail, and business services industries with insights on other industry sectors also available.
"While we are encouraged by the accelerated return to in-person events, the right timing for individual events will depend on the industry, the event type and regionality," said Priest-Heck. "We've already seen many events conducted safely with the correct health and safety measures in place. As more shows do so, we anticipate that this will support the easing of regulations for business events and allow for the return of face-to-face meetings more quickly."