Every year, a large number of professionals working in the business services field gather at trade shows and conferences, both in person and online. In recent years, there has been a lot of activity within the industry, particularly with the rise of technology, automation, remote working, cybersecurity, etc.
These events provide a platform for industry professionals to stay up-to-date on the latest trends, technologies, and developments within the business services field, connect with other professionals in the industry and gain new insights and perspectives.
The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted the business services industry, including the events and conference sector. In early 2020, many events were postponed or canceled due to the pandemic.
However, the use of virtual platforms allowed event organizers to continue providing educational and networking opportunities to attendees, despite the challenges posed by the pandemic. In 2022, we saw a shift towards a mix of virtual, in-person, and hybrid events.
The increase in physical events, combined with virtual and hybrid formats, made events more accessible and allowed for greater collaboration between experts in the business services sector.
In addition, this has allowed for a broader reach of attendees and created opportunities for those who may have been unable to attend in-person events in the past. The period between early 2020 and the end of 2021 can be considered the COVID period for this report. By comparing the pre-2020 and post-2021 periods, we can better understand where the industry stands and what the road ahead may look like.
BUSINESS SERVICES EVENTS OVERVIEW
The business services events industry has been on a steady growth trajectory in recent years, driven by the increasing demand for collaboration, networking, and innovation opportunities.
Furthermore, with the rise of technology, IoT, automation, etc., the industry is expected to continue growing in the foreseeable future. Business services events provide a platform for industry professionals to connect, network, share knowledge, and establish partnerships.
These events bring together a wealth of expertise and experience from around the world, providing valuable opportunities for professionals to learn from one another and build relationships. The COVID-19 pandemic significantly impacted the business services events industry, as it heavily relied on in-person product launches, displays, and relationship building.
The sudden cancellation, postponement, or transition to virtual formats for all events meant that the industry had to adapt quickly. However, in 2022, we saw a return to in-person events in full force, while some events leveraged hybrid formats, which provided a mix of in-person and virtual experiences.
This allowed event organizers to continue offering valuable educational and networking opportunities to attendees while ensuring safety and compliance with public health guidelines.
This report will provide an overview of the number of events in the industry as a comparison metric to assess the state of events returning to normalcy post-covid and also analyze them across several key regions and other relevant trends. However, the core focus of the report is to access pre vs. post covid status and the way forward.
(Note: The numbers of events reflect events captured on the 10Times platform across the regions. While not perfect, we expect it to be close to reality with less than a 10% standard deviation).
BUSINESS SERVICES EVENTS TRENDS
Figure 1 illustrates the trend of business services events over the last five years. The data shows that there has been a significant number of events happening in this industry, providing attendees with opportunities to connect and engage with leading industry innovators, companies, and specialists.
One of the notable observations from the data is the increase in the number of events that have occurred post-COVID compared to the number of events that happened before the outbreak. This is likely attributed to the cost-effectiveness and wider reach of virtual events that event organizers adopted in response to the pandemic.
Although there was an abrupt shift to virtual or hybrid delivery formats for events in 2020, the importance of these gatherings remained the same for business services companies that had already incorporated them into their marketing strategies.
The United States typically hosts a significantly larger number of B2B events than other regions. The following charts depict trends in business services events within various countries, according to 10times data.
BUSINESS SERVICES TRADE SHOWS
Figure 3 illustrates the trend of business services trade shows over the last five years. There has been a significant increase in the number of trade shows held in 2022 compared to 2019. This can be attributed to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the emergence of virtual event platforms. The advent of virtual event platforms made it easier, more cost-efficient, and more accessible for event organizers to host events.
The data presented below shows the trend of business services trade shows in five major regions over the past five years. The five regions were selected based on the number of events and audience size for this report.
By analyzing the data, it is clear that the number of business services trade shows held in the USA has been consistently the highest among the five regions over the past five years. This indicates a strong demand for such events in the USA and a thriving business services industry.
It is noteworthy to observe the speed at which each region has recovered regarding the number of events being held.
Figure 4 illustrates the number of business services trade shows held in the United States over the past five years. Although the number of trade shows organized in the US post-pandemic is lower than the pre-covid number, with the widespread adoption of virtual and hybrid formats, the number of trade shows organized in 2023 is expected to exhibit steady growth, exceeding the level of 2019.
Figure 5 illustrates the number of business services trade shows held in the UK over the past five years. The data clearly shows that the number of events organized in the UK post-pandemic has surpassed the figures from 2019. It’s worth noting that the widespread adoption of virtual and hybrid events format has expanded the reach of these events, making it more accessible for attendees and vendors to participate.
Figure 6 illustrates the number of business services trade shows held in India over the past five years. The graph shows an upward trend in the number of business services trade shows held in India in 2022. This is an unexpected trend, as many other regions have experienced a decrease in the number of events due to the pandemic.
The trend suggests that the country is becoming a more prominent player in the global business services industry. As a result, the demand for events in India will continue to grow in the coming years.
Figure 7 illustrates the number of business services trade shows held in Canada for the past five years. While the base is a lot lower compared to other countries like US and UK, Canada is growing compared to the covid period and is expected to reach 2019 numbers in 2023.
BUSINESS SERVICES CONFERENCES
Figure 8 illustrates the trend of business services conferences held in five major geographical regions over the past five years. The data shows that the number of conferences hosted post-pandemic conferences has yet to reach the pre-pandemic levels of 2019.
According to Figure 9, thousands of business services conferences have been held in the United States over the past five years. It is worth noting that many events scheduled for 2020 were postponed or canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As illustrated in Figure 9, the USA is yet to surpass 2019 regarding the number of conferences held post-covid.
Figure 10 below illustrates the number of business services conferences held in the UK over the past five years. Compared to the pre-pandemic era, the number of conferences hosted in the UK post-pandemic still needs to be higher.
Figure 11 shows the number of Business services conferences held in India over the past five years. Hundreds of Business services conferences were scheduled for 2020, but most got either canceled or switched to virtual. While India experienced many more virtual events in 2020 tan in prior years, the number of conferences hosted in India is increasing steadily post-covid.
Figure 12 shows that Canada has hosted hundreds of business services conferences over the past five years. The country’s base is lower than that of the US and UK, but it has shown steady growth since COVID, and the trend is expected to continue through 2023.
NEW EVENTS HOSTED PRE-COVID VS. POST-COVID
Figure 13 illustrates the trend of new business service events held globally over the past five years. It is clear from the data that in 2019, a significant number of new events were hosted.
However, in 2022, the number of new events has yet to reach pre-pandemic levels. One of the reasons for the slower growth of new events in 2022 is the ongoing recovery and rescheduling of existing events.
Due to the pandemic, many events were either postponed or canceled and event organizers are still working to get their previously scheduled events back on track, which may be taking up much of their time and resources. As a result, there is less focus on creating new event IPs.
Additionally, the pandemic has also resulted in a shift towards virtual and hybrid events, which may have contributed to the slower growth of new events. While the event industry is still adapting to the new normal, it remains to be seen how the trend will evolve in the future.
EVENTS REHOSTED PRE-COVID VS. POST-COVID
It is important to note that the number of business services events hosted may be affected by the frequency of events, as some events may be held bi-annually. Additionally, event rehosting means an event hosted in the same city as its next edition.
If the event gets hosted in a different city, as part of a moving event, it’s considered part of the event series but a different event on 10Times platform. As illustrated in Figure 14, overall, around 44% of events were rehosted every year pre-covid. However, this trend saw a significant change in 2022, where the percentage of rehosted events increased to 81.9%.
This increase in the percentage of rehosted events in 2022 can be attributed to various reasons. Such as:
1. Organizers waiting for 2020-2021 to rehost their in-person event. (Note: If an older edition of an in-person event is rehosted as a hybrid, it’s considered the same event with a new edition on the platform).
2. Many event organizers, who earlier were not rehosting their events, went ahead with hosting it virtually to leverage the cost advantage offered by the format.
Overall, the increase in the percentage of rehosted events in 2022 indicates that event organizers are becoming more resourceful and innovative in their approach to hosting or rehosting events.
REGION WISE SEARCH TRENDS FOR BUSINESS SERVICES EVENTS
Business services events attract visitors from different regions to network, exchange ideas, learn about market opportunities, and meet potential clients. The data shown in Figure 16 indicates that before the COVID-19 pandemic, most business services events were searched in the Americas, with the rest of the continents following suit.
This pattern has stayed relatively consistent throughout the pandemic, with a 5% overall decrease in the share of America, and a 3% dip in Europe. This suggests that the pandemic has not significantly impacted the search patterns of business services events on 10Times.
Figure 17 illustrates the overall percentage of people searching for Business services events post covid. Overall, the search patterns suggest that the demand for business services events has remained relatively stable, despite the challenges posed by the pandemic.
COUNTRY WISE SEARCH TRENDS FOR BUSINESS SERVICES EVENTS
Figure 18 shows the pre-covid percentage breakdown of searches for business services events by professionals across different regions. Again, the United States had the highest number of searches at 46.84%, followed by India and other countries.
It is interesting to note that while the number of searches from individual participants in the United States has significantly increased, the number of searches from India has decreased. This suggests that the pandemic had a greater impact on the search patterns of business service events in India compared to the United States.
Figure 19 compares the percentage of searches across major countries post pandemic. The drop in search percentage from India may suggest that the COVID 19 pandemic had a more substantial effect on the ability of professionals in India to attend business services events.
The reason for this decrease needs to be clarified and requires further analysis. Our research and development team is conducting qualitative research to understand the situation better.
PRE-COVID VS. POST-COVID TRENDS – USERS LOOKING FOR EVENTS WITHIN THE SAME GEOGRAPHY (USA)
Figure 20 illustrates the percentage of users searching for business services events in the United States. The data shows that a significant percentage of searches are for events within the United States, as opposed to international markets.
This indicates a strong local demand for such events within the country. The data also shows a slight decrease in the number of users searching for business services events within the USA in 2022 compared to 2019. This change in the search percentage indicates that the US audiences are looking for potential investment opportunities or importing/exporting prospects in other markets as well .
PRE-COVID VS. POST-COVID USERS FROM THE USA LOOKING FOR EVENTS OUTSIDE
Figure 21 illustrates the search patterns of pre and post-COVID users from the United States for events outside of the country. The data shows that, due to the high number of COVID-19 cases and travel restrictions in China, there has been a significant decrease in search percentage post-pandemic from the US for events in China.
Nearby countries such as Canada and Mexico have experienced a significant increase in the number of events. It will be interesting to monitor these changes to understand the future preferences of users in the USA.
PRE-COVID VS. POST-COVID TRENDS – USERS LOOKING FOR EVENTS WITHIN THE SAME GEOGRAPHY IN (INDIA)
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, 69.6% of Indian users searched for business services events being held within India. Figure 22 shows the number of users looking for business services events within India in 2022 is comparatively lower than the pre-covid level.
One possible explanation for this trend could be that a higher percentage of Indian companies are exploring international events. This trend may reverse in 2023, with more big business services events getting rehosted in India. It would be important to keep a close eye on this trend to understand the evolution of the market.
PRE-COVID VS. POST-COVID USERS FROM INDIA LOOKING FOR EVENTS OUTSIDE
As shown in Figure 23, business services events outside India were attracting more visitors from India before the COVID-19 outbreak. The data in this figure shows the search patterns of pre and post-covid users from India for events outside India.
Two major points stand out from this data. Firstly, post-covid, there is a very low demand for events in China. This could be due to temporary restrictions and policies related to COVID-19 in China, but this demand might take a while to recover.
While the percentage of searches for business events in the US dropped to 33.89% post-COVID, the US still had the highest search percentage as compared to other regions, both before and after the pandemic. It will be interesting to see how these percentage distributions change in 2023, particularly with the push to host large format events in the UAE (Dubai) and visa issues in the US.
PRE-COVID VS. POST-COVID USERS TRENDS – USERS LOOKING FOR EVENTS WITHIN THE SAME GEOGRAPHY IN THE (UK)
Figure 24 shows that 64.4% of users were looking for business services events in the UK before covid-19.
The data shows that search percentage for such events has soared to pre pandemic percentage and is slightly higher than pre-covid level. Around 67% of the users from the UK search for events locally, while others explore international markets. It would be worth comparing this data with other EU countries to understand the trends in the region.
PRE-COVID VS. POST-COVID USERS FROM THE UK LOOKING FOR EVENTS OUTSIDE
Figure 25 illustrates the search patterns of pre and post-covid users from the UK for business services events outside the UK. The data in this figure shows that users from the UK actively search for such events in countries outside the UK.
Post-pandemic, countries such as Spain, UAE, France, and Canada reached or are almost at pre-pandemic levels. However, the Asia Pacific (APAC) events market was greatly affected by the high number of COVID-19 cases in China.
The US was the top choice for users in the United Kingdom compared to other regions, both before and after COVID, even though the percentage of searches fell to 28.35% post-COVID. Additionally, user search from the UK is well spread across regions, with no clear concentration in any area.
PRE-COVID VS. POST-COVID USERS TRENDS – USERS LOOKING FOR EVENTS WITHIN THE SAME GEOGRAPHY IN (CANADA)
Figure 26 illustrates the search patterns for business service events within Canada in 2022. The data shows that searches for such events surpassed pre-pandemic levels.
Business services events are gaining more recognition among professionals in Canada. In 2022, Canada successfully hosted many business services events, proving the resilience and dynamism of a sector ready to rebound. The events were well-received by the Canadian business community for their focus on quality and relevance and their commitment to sustainability.
PRE-COVID VS. POST-COVID USERS FROM CANADA LOOKING FOR EVENTS OUTSIDE
Figure 27 illustrates the search patterns for business services events outside of Canada, both pre- and post-covid. One notable trend is the increase in interest in events happening in France, UAE, India, and Japan. It would be interesting to investigate if this is the result of specific events or a long term trend.
Additionally, it would be worth noting how the opening up of China may affect the percent spread in 2023, as the country had lost almost all traffic in 2022. Overall, the data suggests that Canada is highly dependent on events in the United States, with over 67.83% of users consistently searching for events there.
PRE-COVID VS. POST-COVID USERS TRENDS – USERS LOOKING FOR EVENTS WITHIN THE SAME GEOGRAPHY IN (MALAYSIA)
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, approximately 80% of business service professionals from Malaysia were seeking events within the country. As depicted in Figure 28, the percentage of users searching for business service events within the country has decreased in 2022.
This shift in user demand indicates that businesses in Malaysia are keen to take advantage of the opportunities that come with globalisation, and that they are looking to get involved with events and activities outside of their own country .
PRE-COVID VS. POST-COVID USERS FROM MALAYSIA LOOKING FOR EVENTS OUTSIDE
The data shown in Figure 29 suggests that many business services professionals from Malaysia are searching for events outside of the country to connect with global industry stakeholders and professionals.
There appears to be a change in user demand in Malaysia, with a decrease in demand from countries like the US, UAE, Japan, etc. and an increase in market share for countries like Singapore and Australia.
SEARCH QUERIES USED BY USERS TO FIND BUSINESS SERVICES EVENTS
Over the past year, users have employed various search terms to find business services events. Our findings show that the top searched queries include “business events”, “business expo”, “business events”, etc.
Users searching for business services events showed a keen interest in business expos. The data indicates that users utilized diverse search terms to find events that aligned with their specific interests and needs within the industry.
(Note: Interesting trends can emerge if we look closely at sub-sectors and remove the obvious keywords mentioned above.)
BUSINESS SERVICES EXHIBITORS
The business services industry comprises of professionals seeking industry events to showcase their innovative products and solutions. These events cover the entire supply chain and allow exhibitors to connect with key industry stakeholders and investors.
Due to the impact of COVID-19, there has been a significant decline in demand for exhibitor inquiries for business services events over the last three years. However, demand is slowly picking up in 2022 and is expected to rise significantly in 2023.
The decrease in business services event exhibitors in 2022 can be attributed to the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Although this decrease may be temporary, it is important to recognize that the business services events industry is resilient and continues to adapt to the changing landscape. While the overall count has yet to reach the numbers seen in 2019, it is expected that the business services events will rebound and reach those numbers again in 2023.
Disclaimer: All data, statistics, and metrics used in the report are collected and obtained from 10times.
The business services event industry has shown great resilience in the face of the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. Through the widespread adoption of virtual and hybrid formats, the events held in 2022 have reached and exceeded pre-pandemic levels in most regions.
Our research indicates that the top five countries that hosted the most business services events were the United States, the United Kingdom, India, Australia, and Canada. Furthermore, search trends indicate that post-pandemic, users are primarily searching for business services events within their own countries due to concerns about health and safety, uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, and travel restrictions.
However, the United States has emerged as a top destination for events outside of a user’s home country, with the highest number of searches for business services events from other countries. With the continued advancements in virtual and hybrid formats, the business services event industry is well-positioned to remain highly successful.
As the events landscape continues to evolve, the demands of attendees remain unchanged and may even have increased. As a result, event organizers must be proficient in various formats and tools to deliver events that meet elevated expectations.
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