PARIS / LONDON - UFI and Explori are releasing the second part of the Global Recovery Insights 2020 report. The study was conducted by live events research specialists, Explori, in partnership with UFI, the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry, and supported by SISO, the Society for Independent Show Organizers.

The second part of this global study, based on more than 9,000 responses from 30 countries, follows on from the release of the first part of the report in October, which looked at how exhibitors and visitors of trade shows and business events are being impacted by a lack of live events, and how they view hybrid and digital events.

The insights released today focus on the experience of visitors and exhibitors at digital events, including how they perceive current digital offerings, their views on future investment, and what role they think hybrid events will play in the visitor journey going forward. The core findings echo the first report in the strong demand for a return of live events. Visitors highlight the time and cost benefits related to digital events, and are becoming increasingly comfortable with event content delivered digitally. Exhibitors have a strong preference for live events in all areas – networking, in particular – and feel that digital events currently don’t provide a good ROI.

“The second part of this global study provides key insights for the industry, as we plan for 2021 and move ahead with the reopening of shows and venues. Although it’s clear that our customers are keen to return to face-to-face when possible, the industry landscape has changed. As we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, we should see digital as a major opportunity to enhance the buyer-seller connections we provide,” says Kai Hattendorf, UFI’s Managing Director and CEO.

Sophie Holt, Managing Director at Explori, adds: “The second part of this global study provides useful insight into what the digital events of the future could look like. In the future, digital events will not seek to replicate the in-person experience, but instead leverage their strength at delivering against singular objectives. They will contribute to engaging communities, guide audiences through unfamiliar territory and help to meet customers where they are. Despite the resounding preference for live events, there are strong reasons to consider the importance digital will play as restrictions begin to ease moving into 2021.”

The full report will be shared with UFI and SISO members during a dedicated UFI connects session in January 2021.

December 14, 2020 — Gaurav Khanna