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Event leadership | 15 December 2020

2021 Event Marketing Statistics, Trends, and Data

Bizzabo Blog Staff

The most comprehensive list of event marketing, event management, and event planning statistics on the internet for 2021 and beyond.

Unprecedented circumstances related to COVID-19 forced the event industry as a whole to pause, pivot, and make remarkable changes. And evolve we did, there is no doubt the community has prevailed and there is power in events.

At the beginning of 2020, virtual events were not on anyone’s radar. Fast-forward to the end of the year and it’s safe to say virtual events are here to stay. According to the Post Covid-19 Event Outlook Report, an overwhelming 93% of organizers plan to invest in virtual events moving forward. Virtual conferences and events have opened up the door for reach and showed how resilient the events industry is. They have kept events going during the pandemic and will become a part of hybrid events in the future.

We have compiled a list of marketing and event statistics for 2021 —covering topics like virtual events, event budgets, event technology, event promotion, and hybrid events—that you can use in your next event marketing presentation, conference, or planning your next event.

Know what sort of stats you’re looking for? Click one of the shortcuts below. After each section, you will be able to click a “back to the top” link to bring you right back to this main menu. Otherwise, scroll onward!

 

 

Top Event Statistics

The results are in, the overwhelming majority of planners will invest in virtual events moving forward. Many planners believe it is a critical component to company success. We’ve polled hundreds of event marketers and the results show virtual events present many new challenges such as audience engagement, navigating virtual event software, and understanding virtual event production. Here are the most significant findings.

  • An astounding 97% of event marketers believe we will see more hybrid events in 2021. (Bizzabo, 2020)
  • The majority (93%) of event marketers plan to invest in virtual events moving forward. (Bizzabo, 2020)
  • Over half (54%) of virtual event registrants convert to virtual attendees. (Bizzabo, 2020)
  • An overwhelming majority (80.2%) of event organizers have been able to reach a wider audience with virtual events. (Bizzabo, 2020)
  • A remarkable (61%) of marketers believe that in-person events are the most critical marketing channel—a 20% increase from last year. (Bizzabo, 2019)
  • Almost all (85%) of leadership (Senior Managers, Executives, and Board Members) believe in-person events are essential to their company’s success. (Bizzabo, 2019)
  • The majority (60%) of leadership believes that events are the most critical marketing channel for achieving business goals. (Bizzabo, 2019)
  • A tremendous 90% of event marketers plan to invest in virtual events moving forward. (Bizzabo, 2020)
  • Over half (57%) of event marketers believe their event budgets will decrease for 2021. (Bizzabo, 2020)
  • 89% of businesses using event technology save roughly 200 hours per year. In addition, some (20%) businesses see 360 hours or more saved per year with event technology. (Bizzabo, 2019)
  • More than half (54%) of marketers expressed difficulty in proving ROI. (Bizzabo, 2019)

 

Virtual Event Statistics

During a global pandemic, event professionals everywhere scrambled to pivot to virtual events, researching how to plan a virtual conference event professionals did what they do best and found a way to push events forward. In the end, our data shows event markers found virtual events have many benefits but will not be replacing in-person experiences.

  • The majority (93%) of event professionals plan to invest in virtual events moving forward. (Bizzabo, 2020)
  • An overwhelming majority (80.2%) of event organizers were able to reach a wider audience with virtual events. (Bizzabo, 2020)
  • Almost all (96%) event professionals do not believe virtual events will replace in-person events. (Bizzabo, 2020)
  • A staggering 80% of respondents reported that attendee engagement and satisfaction were KPIs used for measuring virtual event success. (Bizzabo, 2020)
  • Just under half (39.5%) of event organizers found it easier to find great speakers for virtual events. (Bizzabo, 2020)
  • More than half (55%) of respondents say that customer relations, education, and retention are the main goals for their virtual events. (Bizzabo, 2020)
  • The majority (63%) of organizations are moving to digital conferences or events. (TOPO, 2020)
  • 68% of event marketers reported that a hybrid solution that can manage both virtual and in-person events will play a key role in the 2020 and 2021 event strategies. (Bizzabo, 2020)
  • More than half (54%) of organizations are increasing the number of webinars they produce. (TOPO, 2020)
  • More than half (60%) of event professionals pivoted an event to virtual due to the impact of COVID-19 (Bizzabo, 2020)
  • (68%) of event professionals are looking for hybrid event technology that supports both in-person and virtual events. (Bizzabo, 2020)
  • Just over half (52.5%) of event marketers are challenged by the logistics of virtual events and believe virtual events require a different set of skills and resources. (Bizzabo, 2020)
  • Over half (68.8%) of event marketers believe it is more difficult to provide networking opportunities when hosting a virtual event. (Bizzabo, 2020)
  • 87% of event marketers said they have canceled events—and 66% have postponed— as a result of COVID-19. (Event Marketer, 2020)
  • When it comes to registration pricing, 80% of virtual event registrations are free. (Bizzabo, 2020)
  • Half (52.9%) of event marketers believe it is more difficult to create unique and memorable experiences for attendees through virtual events in comparison to in-person events. (Bizzabo, 2020)

Suggested: Learn more about the future of the event industry after COVID-19 in the Event Outlook Report.

 

Hybrid Event Statistics

Moving into 2021, planners are doubling down on virtual events, and the hybrid future of events is taking form. There are a lot of hybrid event ideas developing that will inspire event organizers across the globe. While the overwhelming majority of organizers believe we will see more hybrid events in 2021, the biggest concern for going hybrid will be safety. Check out the stats below and see why we’re confident the future is hybrid.

  • A staggering (97%) of event marketers believe we will see more hybrid events in 2021 than ever before. (Bizzabo, 2020)
  • The majority (59.4%) of event marketers believe a hybrid solution that manages both virtual and in-person events will be a key part of their 2021 event strategy. (Bizzabo, 2020)
  • The overwhelming majority (76.5%) of event marketers have never hosted a hybrid event. (Bizzabo, 2020)
  • The majority (71%) of event marketers believe they have a clear understanding of what a hybrid event is. (Bizzabo, 2020)
  • Event organizers reported 23.6% of their events in 2021 will include a virtual component and will be smaller local events with fewer than 25 attendees that require no air travel or hotel rooms. (AMEX, 2020)
  • Just under half (41.1%) of event planners would only attend a physical event in-person if it was local. (Event MB, 2020)
  • 55% of event organizers report that safety is the biggest obstacle for resuming in-person events. (Event MB, 2020)
  • 35% of virtual and hybrid events would require the services of a full-service agency, which, depending on what is required, could provide presenter training, pre-recorded interviews, virtual studio space, and post-event, edited sessions made available to attendees. (AMEX, 2020)
  • Half (50.7%) of executives think that in the future all live events will have a virtual dimension. (Marketing Charts, 2020)
  • 67% of event organizers reported that their meetings and events policy contained explicit language around safety and security. (AMEX, 2020)

 

Event Industry Statistics

 

B2B Event Industry Statistics

Event marketing plays a large role in achieving business goals. Our data shows B2B marketers reallocated their budgets and went online for a successful year of virtual events ranging from VIP experiences to corporate events. Check out the most notable stats, trends, and data from the journey below!

  • The majority (97%) of B2B marketers believe that in-person events have a major impact on achieving business outcomes. (Bizzabo, 2019)
  • Over half (62.7%) of event marketers are planning to resume in-person events in 2021. (Bizzabo, 2020)
  • Most (87%) B2B marketers say in-person events are a critical component to their company’s success. (Bizzabo, 2019)
  • 82% of B2B marketers believe that attendee engagement is an important KPI for event success. (Bizzabo, 2019)
  • The majority (65%) of B2B marketers within the Professional Services industry host one-day conferences. (Bizzabo, 2019)
  • Over half (54%) of B2B marketers within the Professional Services industry host VIP events. (Bizzabo, 2019)
  • 51% of B2B marketers within the Professional Services industry host thought leadership events. (Bizzabo, 2019)
  • Nearly half (45%) of event marketers report that their personnel is being diminished or reassigned due to the pandemic. (Bizzabo, 2020)
  • 65% of B2B marketers plan to reallocate some or most of their live event budgets to online events, such as webinars. (Event Marketer, 2020)
  • The majority (72%) of respondents project overall B2B marketing budgets will increase, stay the same, or only be cut moderately (by less than 20%). (Event Marketer, 2020)
  • 68% of B2B marketers use in-person events for lead generation initiatives. This is especially noteworthy considering that 73% of marketers prioritized lead quality in 2018. (AdStage, 2018)
  • 55% of B2B organizations spend over 21% of their marketing budgets on events. (Bizzabo, 2018)
  • 58% of B2B companies use event software at their events, compared to 54% of B2C companies. (Bizzabo, 2018)
  • The median spend by a B2B company sponsoring an event is $20,000 (Marketing Charts, 2018).
  • 68% of B2B marketers agree that live events help generate the most leads, while case studies help convert and accelerate leads. (Marketing Charts, 2018)

 

Software and Technology Event Statistics

Event technology trends guided the way into the new world of virtual this year. Organizers leveraged technology to engage attendees and used event apps to organize their agendas, and it paid off. In fact, our data shows overperforming businesses use technology to their advantage when executing virtual events. Here are the most significant findings.

  • An overwhelming 71.5% of event marketers report that virtual engagement tools will play a big role in their event strategy for 2021. (Bizzabo, 2020)
  • The majority (62.6%) of event marketers work with a production services company to help execute their virtual events. (Bizzabo, 2020)
  • The vast majority (95%) of marketers within the tech industry believe that in-person events have a major impact on achieving company business goals. (Bizzabo, 2019)
  • The majority (88%) of marketers within the tech industry believe that in-person events are a critical component of their company’s success—an increase from last year’s reporting. (Bizzabo, 2019)
  • Almost all event professionals (97%) in the technology industry used agenda features in their event app. (Event MB, 2020)
  • 82% of over-performing businesses in Software and Services have strong support from leadership regarding event strategy. (Bizzabo, 2018)
  • Overperforming businesses in Software and Services are 1.5x more likely to use event software that integrates with other core business platforms than underperforming businesses in this sector. (Bizzabo, 2018)

 

Commercial and Professional Services Event Statistics

Commercial and professional services industries know that events can provide a platform to connect with their audience. Whether the event is to drive brand awareness with brand activations and event branding, or networking, the majority of event marketers believe events are a critical element of their companies success. Check out the most notable stats, trends, and data below.

  • Almost all (96%) respondents in the commercial & professional services industry believe events provide valuable opportunities for attendees to form in-person connections in an increasingly digital world. (Bizzabo, 2019)
  • The vast majority (92%) of respondents in the commercial & professional services industry agree leadership teams are very committed to their events strategy. (Bizzabo, 2019)
  • 86% of respondents in the commercial & professional services industry believe that in-person events are a critical component of their company’s success—an increase from last year’s reporting. (Bizzabo, 2019)
  • 72% of Professional Service companies expect a marketing budget increase for in-person events in the coming year. (Bizzabo, 2019)
  • Over half (54%) of event marketers in the professional services industry host events to drive brand awareness. Bizzabo, 2019)
  • 75% of over-performing businesses in the Commercial and Professional Services sector have strong support from their leadership regarding event strategy. (Bizzabo, 2018)
  • Overperforming businesses in the Commercial and Professional Services sector are 3x more likely to use event software that integrates with other core business platforms than underperforming businesses in this sector. (Bizzabo, 2018)

 

Media Event Statistics

These media event statistics show the importance of in-person events. Media events understand that using event software that can integrate with other core business softwares and provide insightful data will produce exceptional events. Check out the most interesting statistics from media events.

  • 97% of respondents within the media industry believe in-person events can have a major impact on achieving a company’s primary business goals.(Bizzabo, 2019)
  • The overwhelming majority (94%) of respondents within the media industry believe event software makes it easier to achieve business outcomes. (Bizzabo, 2019)
  • 85% of respondents within the media industry reported that their leadership teams are supportive of their events strategy. (Bizzabo, 2019)
  • Nearly a quarter (24%) of businesses within the media industry allocate over 51% of their marketing budgets to in-person events while most (48%) spend 1-20%. (Bizzabo, 2018)
  • Over-performing businesses in the Media sector are 2.7x more likely to use event software that integrates with other core business platforms than underperforming businesses in this sector. (Bizzabo, 2018)

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Suggested: Learn more about benchmarks for 2020 in this year’s Event Marketing Report.

 

Event Marketing Budgets and Trends Statistics

 

Event Marketing Budgets

With the rise of virtual and hybrid events, event budgeting has become more complex. In 2020 many planners saw their budgets negatively impacted by the pandemic. In this section, we will uncover the current state of event marketing budgets.

  • 83.7% of event organizers believe their event budgets will be impacted by COVID-19 in 2021. (Bizzabo, 2020)
  • The majority (65.5%) of event marketers believe their event budgets will decrease for 2021. (Bizzabo, 2020)
  • 85% of leadership (Senior Managers, Executives, and Board Members) believe in-person events are critical to their company’s success—double the number of leaders and executives from 2018. (Bizzabo, 2019)
  • 48% of respondents state that their businesses allocate at least 21% of their marketing budgets to in-person events. (Bizzabo, 2019)
  • Half (50%) of businesses are spending 21% or more of their total events budget on hosting events. (Bizzabo, 2019)
  • 33% of businesses are spending 21% or more of their total events budget on sponsoring events. (Bizzabo, 2019)
  • Companies are 2.6X more likely to spend over 21% of their total events budget to host events rather than attend them. (Bizzabo, 2018)
  • 70% of businesses that are outperforming their company goals expect their in-person event budgets to increase. (Bizzabo, 2019)

 

Event Trends

In this section, we will dissect event trends emerging within the industry. From how businesses are achieving their business goals to event tech trends to budgeting, here are the common trends.

  • 95% of marketers believe in-person events have a significant impact on achieving primary business goals. (Bizzabo, 2019)
  • The majority (61%) of event marketers believe that events are a critical marketing channel for meeting key business objectives. (Bizzabo, 2019)
  • 85% of leadership—Senior Managers, Executives, and Board Members—believe in-person events are critical to their company’s success. (Bizzabo, 2019)
  • 60% of leadership believes that events are the most critical marketing channel for achieving business goals. (Bizzabo, 2019)
  • Over half (54%) of event planners are spending more of their time and attention on the attendee experience rather than logistics. (AMEX, 2019)
  • Between 2017 and 2018, there was a 20% increase in leadership reporting as “very committed” to live events. (Bizzabo, 2018)
  • Over-performing event teams allocate 1.7x the average marketing budget to live events. (Bizzabo, 2018)
  • 81% of marketers believe that in the upcoming years, live events will become increasingly important to their organization’s success. (Bizzabo, 2018)
  • 33% of event planners would use additional budgets to invest in enhancing the attendee experience. (AMEX, 2018)

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Event Technology Statistics

Event technology is an integral part of any event. In this section, we will uncover statistics related to event management software features, the importance of event apps, and how event organizers are adopting event technology to improve their events.

 

Event Management Software

  • 92% of marketers believe event software makes it easier to achieve business outcomes. (Bizzabo, 2019)
  • Of marketers that are currently using event software, most (80%) do not have trouble proving ROI. (Bizzabo, 2019)
  • The majority (89%) of those who use event software believe that they save time when planning events. (Bizzabo, 2019)
  • The majority (89%) of event technology users save roughly 200 hours per year. In addition, some (20%) of respondents see 360 hours or more saved per year with event technology. (Bizzabo, 2019)
  • Over-performing businesses are 2x more likely to use event software that integrates with other core business platforms. (Bizzabo, 2018)
  • Businesses that do use event software are 24% more likely to prove event ROI compared to those that do not use event software. (Bizzabo, 2018)
  • 90% of event marketers believe providing an attendee experience that is personalized to their interests is important. (Bizzabo, 2019)
  • More than half (64%) of event marketers say the primary reason for hosting events is brand awareness for their company or products. (Bizzabo, 2019)
  • 39% of event marketers believe email marketing is the most effective channel for promoting events. (Bizzabo, 2019)
  • Most event marketers(79%) integrate their event software with a CRM. (Bizzabo, 2019)
  • 20% of event marketers believe APIs and integrations will hold the greatest areas for improvement for event technology in the future. (Bizzabo, 2019)
  • The majority of organizers (59.4%) are looking for a hybrid software solution that will manage both in-person and virtual events. (Bizzabo, 2020)

 

Event Apps

  • The majority (62%) of marketers believe a mobile app for an event can help drive attendee engagement. (Bizzabo, 2019)
  • 98% of event professionals use agenda and session features for their event app. (Event MB, 2020)
  • 60%-70% of event app features commonly used across industries are engagement-focused. (Event MB, 2019)
  • 41% of apps analyzed by Event MB included advanced networking features. (Event MB, 2019)
  • 100% of verticals analyzed in Event MB’s reporting listed event agenda in the top three most important features for an event app. (Event MB, 2019)
  • Users of Bizzabo’s Ultra Branded App saw an 84% increase in audience networking. (Bizzabo, 2019)
  • Users of Bizzabo’s Ultra Branded App saw a 42% increase in audience engagement. (Bizzabo, 2019)
  •  27% of all virtual/hybrid meetings will make use of a mobile app. (AMEX, 2020)

 

Event Technology Adoption

  • An overwhelming majority of event marketers (90%) believe that technology can have a major positive impact on the success of their events. (Bizzabo, 2019)
  • 80% of marketers believe that their leadership team is supportive of their event strategy. (Bizzabo, 2019)
  • Most marketers (78%) believe that in-person events will become increasingly important to their company’s success. (Bizzabo, 2019)
  • 40% of event app developers boast an average adoption rate of over 80%. (Event MB, 2019)
  • About half (52%) of event app developers say that attendees use event apps mostly for session information. (Event MB, 2019)

 

Event Sponsorship Statistics

As virtual event ticket costs are drastically reduced (and in many cases free), event sponsorship is becoming an increasingly important role in funding events. Here’s how event sponsorship will play a key role in organizers event strategies in 2021.

  • Just over half (50.6%) of respondents believe that tools to connect sponsors and attendees both virtually and in-person will play a key role in their 2021 event strategies. (Bizzabo, 2020)
  • Ranging on a scale of 1-10, 6.5 was the average reported confidence event marketers had in the value of their sponsorship opportunities at virtual events. (Bizzabo, 2020)
  • Half (51%) of respondents believe their budget for sponsoring or exhibiting will remain the same in the coming year. (Bizzabo, 2019)
  • 33% of respondents allocate 21% or more of their marketing budget towards sponsoring or exhibiting at events. (Bizzabo, 2019)
  • Global sponsorship spending was up to 65.8 billion U.S. dollars. (Statista, 2018)

 

Event ROI Statistics

Based on the stats below, event marketers know the importance of tracking and measuring event ROI, but the majority struggle to prove it. Check out how organizers use event software, KPIs, and more to measure event success from the data we uncovered.

  • 91% of respondents believe event software makes it easier to achieve business outcomes. (Bizzabo, 2019)
  • The average price paid for a virtual event in June of 2020 was $254 USD. (Bizzabo, 2020)
  • 22% of respondents said multi-day conferences have the biggest impact on key business objectives. (Bizzabo, 2019)
  • 37% of respondents primarily measure attendee engagement and satisfaction as a KPI for event success. (Bizzabo, 2019)
  • Half (54%) of respondents have trouble showing event ROI to key decision-makers. (Bizzabo, 2019)

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Attendee Engagement Statistics

Virtual events have created new challenges for event engagement. Over half of event marketers find virtual engagement more difficult. We’ve compiled the most interesting stats surrounding engagement and what virtual event tools planners believe will help virtual attendees stay engaged.

  • More than half (67.7%) of event marketers find it more difficult to keep attendees engaged during sessions at virtual events. (Bizzabo, 2020)
  • The average virtual attendee watches 68% of a virtual session that is 20 minutes or longer. (Bizzabo, 2020)
  • The average number of sessions per virtual event is 12. (Bizzabo, 2020)
  • Most (58%) of virtual sessions are smaller, capping at 300 live attendees. (Bizzabo, 2020)
  • Only 14% of virtual event sessions are a larger keynote format. (Bizzabo, 2020)
  • 62% of virtual events are single-day events (Bizzabo, 2020)
  • The majority (63%) of respondents believe tools to engage virtual attendees will play a key role in their 2020 and 2021 event strategies. (Bizzabo, 2020)
  • 93% of respondents agree that in-person events provide attendees with valuable opportunities to form in-person connections in an increasingly digital world. (Bizzabo, 2019)
  • Most respondents (90%) say providing a personalized experience for attendees is important to them. (Bizzabo, 2019)
  • 70% of respondents track attendee engagement and satisfaction as a KPI for event success. (Bizzabo, 2019)
  • The majority (63%) of respondents believe a mobile event app can drive attendee engagement. (Bizzabo, 2019)
  • 37% of respondents say attendee engagement and satisfaction are the primary KPIs they measure for event success. (Bizzabo, 2019)

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Gender and Diversity Statistics

Event diversity and inclusion continues to be at the forefront of event marketers’ minds. Judging from the stats below, the industry is moving forward but still has a lot of work to do to promote diverse events, including the need for speaker selections to be more diverse.

  • In 2019, one-third of event speakers (33%) were female. (Bizzabo Diversity Report, 2019)
  • When comparing the U.S., Canada, and the United Kingdom, The U.S. and Canada tied for most diverse with 64% male speakers versus 35% female speakers, respectively. (Bizzabo Diversity Report, 2019)
  • Technology events were found to have 63% male speakers versus 37% female speakers. (Bizzabo Diversity Report, 2019)
  • Education Management had a 50/50 split (50% female speakers/ 50% male speakers) showing ideal gender diversity. (Bizzabo Diversity Report, 2019)
  • In analyzing gender distribution across speakers by event type, Bizzabo’s study found Job Search & Info Sessions (69% female versus 31% male) and Fundraisers & Galas (58% female versus 42% male) to be the most diverse. (Bizzabo Diversity Report, 2019)
  • Summits (85% male versus 15% female) and Conferences & Conventions (66% male versus 34% female) were reported to be the least diverse. (Bizzabo Diversity Report, 2019)

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That’s a wrap on event marketing stats for 2021. We are certain 2021 will bring forth new and interesting data and we’ll continue to update these lists as more relevant insights surface throughout the year. In the meantime, see how other event marketers are preparing for the shift to hybrid and beyond by checking out (Almost) HYBRID On Demand.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on December 17, 2018 and has since been updated.

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