55 Event Industry Statistics and Trends

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Events involve the gathering of groups of people who share a common interest. You can find the industry planning meetings, hosting exhibitions, or promoting a convention to accomplish specific goals. This process could include hobbies, entertainment, or new business opportunities.

There are 250 convention centers operating in the United States right now. The largest of these venues is McCormick Place in Chicago, which offers 2.6 million square feet of event space to use. One in Hannover, Germany is even larger, providing a gross capacity of more than 463,000 square meters.

Over 30% of the largest conventions and exhibitions hosted in the United States had over 2,500 attendees. Only 6% had fewer than 200 participants. Although attending an event can be an essential component of corporate culture, the average cost to go to a trade show or conference was over $500. Special events and incentive occasions averaged $100 more.

Important Event Industry Statistics

#1. Job growth rates for the event industry, including meeting and event planners, is expected to grow by 11% in the United States through 2026. That’s in comparison to an overall employment growth rate of 7% for the American job market. (Bureau of Labor Statistics)

#2. Over 5,200 meetings are held every day by the event industry, which means Americans find themselves in 1.9 million gatherings throughout the year. This figure includes groups of 10 or more who come together for a minimum of 4 hours at a contracted venue. (Catalyst)

#3. Meetings and events account for over $325 billion in direct spending each year in the United States. About one-third of that amount comes from the travel needs to attend these events. (Catalyst)

#4. Over 2.5 million people receive direct or indirect employment because of the event industry each year. When induced jobs are included in this figure, the total reaches almost 6 million positions. (Catalyst)

#5. Almost $100 billion in wages and salaries comes from the event industry each year, which means this sector is larger than the GDP of over 140 countries. (Catalyst)

#6. Over 40% of corporate planners expect that their events and meetings budget is going to increase in the next 12 months. Although there is a desire to reduce the amount of travel required to attend an event, online meetings, video conferencing, and phone conferences are all seeing a surge of interest. (Catalyst)

#7. For every dollar that gets spent on a face-to-face meeting of 10 or more people hosted by the event industry, another $1.60 gets spent downstream. (Catalyst)

#8. Over 250 million people participated in at least one meeting in 2016. 98% of federal employees say that having conferences, in-person events, and meetings is essential to the advancement of their careers. (Meetings Mean Business)

#9. 96% of small- to medium-sized businesses say that having an in-person meeting is worth the time and financial investment required to have it. (Meetings Mean Business)

#10. 91% of small business owners say that connecting face-to-face with customers improves their ability to run their company. This outcome is also a top reason why SMBs attend or present at conferences. (Meetings Mean Business)

#11. 81% of small business owners say that they prioritize industry trade shows and conferences as a way to expand their opportunities. (Meetings Mean Business)

#12. 75% of small business owners say that they place a high priority on B2B and B2C networking that can only occur through meetings. (APCO Insight)

#13. 9% of exhibitions and meetings hosted in the United States provide an economic value of more than $10 million to their host destination. (Statista)

#14. California has the most convention centers in the United States with 20 separate destinations, but events and meetings can be held at hotels and other locations. A total of 155 meeting hotels currently operate in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area alone. (Statista)

#15. The share of room nights generated by business and corporate meetings in the United States totaled 44% in 2017. (Statista)

#16. Only 9.6% of SME owners say that they participate in trade shows regularly because of the benefits they see from the event industry. (Statista)

#17. 93% of senior-level business managers and executives say that face-to-face meetings improve their ability to close a deal. That rate is higher than phone calls or emails. (Catalyst)

#18. 39% of event industry professionals say that the most crucial element of a live meeting is to engage attendees in some way. That’s why over 40% of North American websites and 28% of European ones include specific information about inclusivity and diversity policies. (Event Manager Blog)

#19. The average event generates almost $1,300 of spending per participant. That means 6 million international attendees generate $38 billion per year for the industry, representing over 11% of the sector total. (Oxford Economics)

#20. 73% of conferences hosted by the event industry include a collaborative workshop within their agenda. Half of all trade shows also include this feature. (Event Manager Blog)

#21. 40% of the venues in Germany managed by the event industry have some form of sustainability management, with 90% of professionals saying that this element is either “very important” or “important” as a goal to reach. (Event Manager Blog)

#22. International event attendees spent 26% more on recreation and entertainment, 24% on general shopping, and 22% more on travel than those who go to meetings in their own state or country. (Oxford Economics)

#23. Over half of the event job postings in the United Kingdom had an emphasis on regulatory compliance in 2018. (Event Manager Blog)

#24. 85% of event planners say that they are optimistic about the future of their industry from a global perspective. (Event Manager Blog)

#25. 89% of event planners say that they love their job and place in the industry. Only 2% of people who remain active say that they don’t like what they do for a living. (Event Manager Blog)

#26. 47% of event planners say that having more clients would help them to advance their career more efficiently, which is equal to the number of individuals who say an emphasis on better personal branding would be useful. (Event Manager Blog)

#27. Conferences and trade shows are the most common form of event in North America, representing 23% of the industry activities each year. They are 20% of the events hosted in Europe, 17% in the Asia-Pacific region, and 10% in Central and South America. (Global Meetings and Events)

#28. 53% of event attendees participate in business and corporate meetings. 18% say they participate in conventions without an exhibition floor. Only 6% have gone to an incentive meeting in the past 12 months. (Oxford Economics)

#29. 41% of event creators say that they spent more in 2018 than they did the year before. Most of their expanded budget went into social media and email channels since 91% of people check their inbox every day. (Eventbrite)

#30. 45% of event ticket sales for the industry are directly attributed to email marketing efforts. That’s why 78% of planners/creators say that email is their most effective tactic to use. (Eventbrite)

#31. 87% of event creators say that they used augmented reality in 2018, with a similar percentage looking at virtual reality as an option. (Eventbrite)

#32. 96% of events streamed live video at some point during the conference, trade show, or meeting. Two-thirds of viewers are more likely to purchase a ticket the next time there is an opportunity to attend after watching a live video from their home or business. (Eventbrite)

#33. The top challenges for those who organize B2B events are to figure out how to reach new attendees (90%), secure sponsors (90%), and find speakers who have enough branding that they can draw an audience. (American Express)

#34. 72% of event industry professionals say that they get to work with an annual budget that is $30,000 or less per year. 38% are spending less than $1,000 per event. (American Express)

#35. 43% of an event’s budget goes toward marketing and promotion efforts in the United States. Talent and speakers represent 32% of the cost, while printed materials (29%) and venues (18%) are also essential factors to consider. (American Express)

#36. Ticket sales for the event industry compose between 60% to 100% of the revenues generated at 48% of venues. (Eventbrite)

#37. 98% of attendees say that they feel more included to make a purchase after they experience an event in person. (EventTrack)

#38. 77% of industry professionals say that they are using experimental marketing as a way to embrace the advertising strategies that are necessary when hosting events. (EventTrack)

#39. 48% of people who attend events and meetings regularly say that their face-to-face interactions are more valuable today than they were in 2015. (Center for Exhibition Industry Research)

#40. 75% of the companies with an events budget of at least $50 million say that they have an expectation to see a 5-to-1 ROI ratio for their experiential programs and live events. (EMI)

#41. Event technologies can help to increase attendance levels by up to 20%. There are also gains in productivity to consider (27%), while a decrease of up to 30% in costs is possible. (Enterprise Event Marketing)

#42. Enterprise-level organizations use internal event organizers to manage their interactions with the industry 73% of the time while using third-party agencies to fulfill duties in 38% of their meetings or events. (Marketing Charts)

#43. In a survey of over 700 business executives, 93% said that their organization places a priority on hosting events. 57% rated this trait as a “high priority” for their employer. 85% also said that there is a priority in sponsoring events to consider. (Harvard Business Review)

#44. The global business events industry supports more than $2.5 trillion in total business sales (output) each year. (Events Council)

#45. Attendees go to corporate events for networking (82%) more often than any other reason. Learning comes in at 71% as a top priority, while entertainment is third at 38%. (Event Marketing Blog)

#46. The average attendee at an American event will take 21 photographs during a live session to share them on social media. (Event Marketer)

#47. 38% of event attendees will visit a company’s website after they enjoy a live experience. 32% will then purchase the products or services that they see, while 30% will immediately use or wear products with brandings on them, such as a pen or t-shirt. (Event Marketer)

#48. 78% of Americans say that they would be a customer for life if a company invited them to be a VIP at an upcoming event. That figure rises to 88% when only Millennials are asked this question. (Event Marketer)

#49. 90% of the purchases that happen in the event industry are based on emotional responses. 74% of attendees say that they have a more position view of a brand, product, or service that gets promoted at their event, while 65% say that the experience helps them to understand their product better. (P2Pi)

#50. 88% of event industry professionals are using KPIs and data from conventions, meetings, trade shows, and more to make future marketing decisions. (Freeman Data Benchmark Survey)

#51. 80% of the agencies that are over-performing with regards to their company goals say that they plan to increase their budget for live events in the next 12 months. (Endless Events)

#52. Less than half of marketers who work in the event industry have a standardized process in place that helps them to measure event sponsorship. (Marketing Profs)

#53. 51% of professionals in the event industry say that their biggest challenge in using social media as a marketing option is to use the platform effectively. (Endless Events)

#54. 34% of American event attendees say that they make social media posts about their experiences at a meeting, conference, or similar destination on their personal and professional profiles. (EMI)

#55. 90% of event tech adopters in the industry say that they consider themselves to be in an excellent position for future successes. Only 65% of those who are non-adopters feel the same way. (Harvard Business Review)

Event Industry Trends and Analysis

Even though new technologies make it easier than ever before to host meetings or events remotely, this industry is seeing a resurgence of interest. More people and brands are preferring live experiences instead of screen-based opportunities, which means more audience connections become possible.

That doesn’t mean technology isn’t playing a role in this industry. Over 52% of event professionals say that they’re more invested in tech now than they were last year. Conferences and trade shows are consistently a top source of information when buyers want to research products or services.

Now that we’ve learned what it is like to stay informed through online connections, we’ve learned that the value of human contact is sometimes priceless. Unless the economy takes a turn as it did in 2007 with an extended recession, the event industry should see a CAGR of up to 11%. Some sectors may not see as much growth, but even these areas will see an upward movement of 3% to 6%.

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