The coronavirus pandemic kick-started the growth of the virtual events industry in an unprecedented way. With people forced to stay at home, the online format has been the only solution for most events to proceed as planned. The fast evolution of different virtual events is pushing the industry, while organizers are quickly learning what works and what doesn’t. These fascinating virtual events statistics will cover essential information about the shape of the industry and best practices.
Virtual Events Statistics (Editor’s Choice)
- One-fifth of all 2021 trade shows have been organized as virtual events. (Statista)
- In 2022, 40% of events are projected to happen online. (Statista)
- 80% of virtual events are free of charge. (Bizzabo)
- Webinars are an essential marketing tool for 99% of companies. (Statista)
- 76% of marketers use email as the single, most effective tool to drive registrations for virtual events. (LAI Live)
- In 2020, the virtual event market amounted to $94.04 billion worldwide. (Grand View Research)
- Roughly 41% of small virtual event organizers opt for Zoom. (Markletic)
General Virtual Events Statistics
1. One-fifth of all 2021 trade shows have been organized virtually.
Thanks to the pandemic, different types of virtual events happened in 2020 and 2021 - particularly in 2021, when life returned to some semblance of normalcy. The number of virtual events increased together with their budgeting, with four out of 10 US marketers claiming to plan on increasing their spending on virtual events in 2021.
2. 40% of events are projected to happen online in 2022.
Despite the best efforts of countries to vaccinate their population, 2022 will see a higher or at least similar number of online events, virtual events stats suggest. Based on a survey among global marketers, virtual events are projected to rise by 5% in 2022. Moreover, hybrid events will become more frequent, as nearly one-third of all trade shows in 2021 was organized in this format.
3. 80% of virtual events are free of charge.
An important point for most organizations is to reach a wider audience for an event. In most cases, it depends on the virtual conference price. Typically they are free, allowing marketers to attract more people. Meanwhile, as virtual event statistics suggest, paid virtual events are not getting cheaper.
4. In the second half of 2020, the average price for a virtual event was $443.
Virtual events pricing varied throughout the entire 2020. Yet, at the end of that year, the average price was somewhat higher than in Q2 ($378). In fact, the price fluctuated through the year, dwindling to $254 in June, only to rise again to $629 in July. These changes reflect the experiments marketers are conducting to find the balance between revenue and reach.
5. Nearly 34% of marketers set the average virtual event cost per attendee between $500 and 1,000.
In line with the virtual events stats, the average cost depends on the size of the event. Large events, like conferences and exhibitions, have higher prices. For example, virtual event costs for a large conference range between $1,000 and $1,500 per participant.
6. Webinars are an essential marketing tool for 99% of companies.
Webinars have become crucial in online event marketing, with a colossal 99% of companies accepting them as an essential component, virtual event statistics claim. Since the beginning of the pandemic, many new solutions for webinars have been at organizations’ disposal. Live meetings software, which 43% of respondents have chosen, is another essential digital tool used worldwide.
7. Three-fourths of marketers globally used livestream video as a digital engagement tool.
Live streaming is a significant element in companies’ marketing strategy that most marketers have used already, and many more are planning to do the same. For example, virtual events statistics indicate that one out of five marketers intended to use livestream video in 2021.
8. 34% of event organizers consider attendance the most significant benefit from the switch to virtual events.
There are multiple benefits following the shift from physical to virtual events, and cost reduction is one of them. However, for 34% of planners, it’s virtual event attendance, as statistics confirm. At the same time, reduction of overhead costs is the main reason for 14.9% of respondents.
9. Approximately 50% of registered participants convert to actual attendees.
Despite high registration rates, not all participants attend the event. Virtual event attendance rate hovers around half of all registered participants. Even though this is a high conversion rate, it’s still down from 54% reported in Q2 2020. Considering 80% of registrations are free, a significant portion of people show up, according to virtual event attendance statistics.
10. Networking, with 68.8%, is the highest challenge for virtual events organizers.
Despite the obvious benefits, virtual events are not without hurdles. So, most marketers worry about networking (68.8%) and engagement (67.7%). Aside from these, differentiating an event from the rest is an obstacle for 52.9% of event organizers. Logistics are next on the list with 52.5%. Finally, virtual events statistics put finding sponsors and impacting as the last two challenges, with 36.9% and 35.7%, respectively.
11. Businesses need three to six weeks to get ready for a small virtual event.
Even small virtual events require preparation and a promotional period. For smaller businesses, this is three to six weeks. Meanwhile, for 65% of surveyed marketers, larger virtual events require a dedicated period of more than six weeks to prepare promotional and marketing activities and generate targeted registration numbers.
12. On average, organizers manage to secure 14 sponsorships per virtual event.
Similar to physical, online events also demand some sponsorship. According to virtual event statistics, marketers claim that the average confidence of driving value of virtual events for sponsors is 6.5 on a scale of 1 to 10. Driving value is what sells an event to potential sponsors.
13. 80% of virtual event organizers provide on-demand access to a minimum of one session of the event.
By allowing access to an event or some sessions via recordings after they’re finished, organizers extend their reach and lead collection potential, according to virtual events statistics. That way, attendees in different countries and time zones can engage with the content on their own time or as many times as they want.
14. 76% of marketers use email as a single, most effective tool to drive registrations for virtual events.
It’s not enough to post hosting an event and expect people to join. A series of pre-event promotions needs to take place. Hence, event marketing statistics show that most marketers use some common digital marketing techniques. For instance, 89% use social media to engage people.
15. 49% of marketers consider participants’ engagement as the key indicator of a successful virtual event.
Virtual events statistics suggest that organizations that fail to engage their audience are 150% more likely to have an unsuccessful event. One of the engagement drivers is event polls. In fact, nearly 82% of organizers use them to improve interactions, while 71% use polling to keep participants’ attention. Also, 61% of marketers cite video as an excellent interactive element.
16. 60% of event planners utilize social media for event registrations.
Virtual events statistics show that event organizers use social media to obtain feedback from participants (38%). More importantly, they use them for promotion, virtual event statistics show. Namely, 52% of marketers use Facebook to place their virtual events into customer feed.
17. 30% of companies use applications for their virtual events.
The main purpose of using an app in virtual events are registration and engagement. Some 78% of companies report that using event apps has helped them reach a positive ROI from their virtual events.
Virtual Event Market Size
18. Globally, the virtual market amounted to $94.04 billion in 2020.
Based on virtual events stats, this figure is bound to increase at a whopping 23.7% CAGR between 2021 and 2028. The strongest impulse behind this growth is the adoption of various communication and collaboration tools across industries. Primarily, it results from more frequent use of video conferencing tools that most companies rely on in their everyday business.
(Grand View Research)
19. The external events accounted for 40% of the virtual events market revenue share in 2020.
According to forecasts, the external events segment, representing nearly half of the virtual event market size in revenue, will dominate the event industry in the future. This growth reflects the fact that organizations need to communicate with external stakeholders in some form to maintain their business growth.
(Grand View Research)
20. Conferences comprise 43% of all virtual events on one platform.
Based on Bizzabo’s virtual events statistics, nearly half of the events on their platform are virtual conferences. Meetings and networking follow with 23%. Next, companies often use the platform for internal events, which account for 13%. Classes and workshops are fourth on the list with 7%. Other notable events include trade shows/expos with 4%, social gatherings (2%), launching events (2%), webinars (2%), and others.
21. Exhibitions and trade shows held the largest revenue share of 30% in 2020.
Out of all types of virtual events, trade shows and exhibitions dominated the market’s revenue share in 2020, as virtual event statistics indicate. Despite the global situation health-wise, the need to sell and present products forced companies to turn to these tactics. In fact, they turned out to be a cheaper and easier way to showcase their offer without travel costs, promo materials, and other expenses. Aside from this, the segment comprising webinars, job fairs, and concerts also witnessed a growth that was forecasted to continue and reach a CAGR of 25% from 2021 to 2028.
(Grand View Research)
22. North America captured one-third of the global virtual market event revenue share in 2019.
Judging by the virtual events statistics from 2019, North America held the largest revenue share globally. In the region, the US is exhibiting an exceptionally high growth rate, while the Asia-Pacific region and LAMEA are expected to catch up in the forecasted period (2021-2028), thanks to the improved business environment.
(Allied Market Research)
23. 55% of organizers plan to spend more on virtual events in the next couple of years.
Out of all organizations that set up virtual events in 2020, 84% registered much lower costs than with physical events, virtual event statistics reveal. In fact, the highest cost, in this case, were hosting platforms. Apart from this, organizers spent most on speakers and moderators.
24. Roughly 41% of small virtual event organizers opt for Zoom.
Zoom is the number one choice for most small virtual events. Microsoft Teams follows as another popular tool for 29% of marketers.
25. 31.6% of B2B event organizers use Intrado as a virtual hosting platform for large events.
Intrado seems to be the number one choice for larger virtual conferences. According to virtual events statistics, the runner-up is ON24 with 20.1%. Other commonly used platforms include Bizzabo (14.8%), Intellum (14.4%), Kaltura (10.1%), and Hopin (9%).
The Most Successful Virtual Events
26. Salesforce World Tour, a one-day event organized in March 2020, registered 1.2 million views.
This event was one of the first to switch to an online auditorium due to the pandemic. According to virtual event attendance statistics, it gathered over 80,000 live stream viewers. What’s more impressive is that the decision to switch to virtual was made only in February, about 10 days before the event.
27. Cvent’s annual conference registered 37,500 more attendees YoY after going virtual in 2020.
Cvent’s annual conference went online in August 2020 for the first time. It gathered 42,000 participants (compared to 4,500 in 2019) and was one of the most successful virtual events at the time, virtual events stats confirm. The company hosted the platform on their own product, the freshly released Virtual Attendee Hub. That way, the customers had the chance to test the product in real-time.
28. Tomorrowland Around the World gathered one million people online in 2020.
In 2020, the Belgium-based music festival decided to organize a virtual environment consisting of eight stages and 60 performing artists. That year, the festival, usually visited by approximately 400,000 people, broke the record reaching one million. The most interesting fact about this virtual event is the gamification element. It was hosted on an island in the sea and powered by solid digital capabilities, enabling a seamless experience.
Other Noteworthy Virtual Events Stats
29. 57% of online events unfold as single-day events.
Most event management companies organize events that last just a day. The average virtual event consists of approximately 20 sessions. It appears that organizers opt more for multiple concurrent session events. Next on the list are two-day events that comprise 14%, followed by three-day events with 9%.
30. Only 7% of people want to attend virtual events that are longer than an hour.
Typically, the attention span of virtual event participants tends to drop after a while. Long viewing times result in virtual event fatigue, statistics confirm. That’s why it’s vital to organize a break every 25 minutes, considering 55% of the people in a particular survey confirmed they wanted virtual events to last 30 minutes or less.
31. One in three event organizers deals with long-term financial loss and job cuts.
Loss of money and human resources have the most significant impact on event organizers (30%). The top three challenges they are facing at the moment are: (a) deciding to cancel, postpone or shift to virtual events; (b) changing terms of contracts with suppliers, sponsors, and relevant stakeholders, and (c) planning in an ever-changing environment.
32. A bad connection is a reason for annoyance for nearly 40% of virtual event participants, virtual event statistics show.
Aside from bad connection, issues that come up for both participants and organizers include bad audio (30%), bad camera (20%), and messy background (12%).
The Bottom Line
Organizing virtual events isn’t without challenges. However, the practice has proven that they are important tools for conducting business. True, organizing them encompasses some experimentation and adjusting, but in the end, the results could be rewarding. One thing is certain — the industry will keep growing, judging by what event marketing statistics say.
Virtual Event FAQ
How popular are virtual events?
Virtual events statistics show that 45% of future B2B events will be virtual. The survey focused on 200 B2B companies that organize events across the UK and Ireland. The results point out that 72% of the companies plan to keep the virtual events’ format even if the situation with COVID-19 comes to a resolution. Some 77% plan to organize hybrid events. So the general overview might look like this: 45% virtual, 32% physical, and 23% hybrid. (Marketing Tech)
How much have virtual events increased?
Since the emergence of coronavirus and the pandemic, virtual events have jumped by 1,000%, and this increase applies to only one of the many platforms - 6Connex. The representatives stated they had been continuously hiring and working overtime due to demand. As a result of this growth, the platform has seen 52,000 events since COVID-19, virtual event statistics show.
What is the average attendance at a virtual event?
Based on the data from Statista, the average attendance rate for virtual events stands at around 1,356 participants. On the other hand, regular meetings recorded an average number of 908 attendants.
What is the ideal length of a virtual event?
The StreamGo organization has researched how long a virtual event should last. Based on the data, two to four hours is perfect for an event with engagement. Even events of this kind that last up to five hours can work well. However, everything beyond this seems to fall both in terms of attendance and engagement rates, leading to virtual event fatigue, statistics show.
When do most people register for a virtual event?
Most people register two to three weeks prior to an event. Despite eventual registration targets you want to achieve, rest assured that promoting an event months in advance can’t do much. Therefore, it’s important to promote it closer to the actual event date as much as possible.
How do you measure the success of a virtual event?
There are various factors to measure your virtual event success, according to virtual events statistics:
- The number of registrations compared to the number of no shows;
- Online visits to the website after the event by tracking landing pages and Google Analytics;
- Tracking visits to the app by using the analytics tools;
- Participants’ engagement and retention;
- Using feedback surveys and forms during or after the event;
- Following social media metrics (hashtags, number of followers, engagement, etc.);
- Checking generated revenue.
What percentage of virtual event costs come from technology?
The budget for every virtual event varies depending on capacities and specific goals. Although physical events demand only 25% of the total budget to be spent on technology, the situation is different online. Virtual event statistics show that 75% of the budget goes to technology instead of venue, food, refreshments, staff, and travel. (CVent)
What percent of virtual events are free?
80% of all virtual events are free. However, this strategy works for the time being, as there might be some changes. As virtual events are expected to continue long after the pandemic is over, the pricing will probably be readjusted to reflect the new situation.
(360 Live Media)
What is the average cost of a virtual conference?
Virtual events statistics show that nearly 34% of marketers claim they spend on average $500-1,000 per participant at a virtual event. In the case of larger virtual conferences, the cost is even higher ($1,000-1,500). Further, 17% of marketers claim they spend even more than $1,500 per participant. Only 18% spend $200-500 on average per attendee.
How big is the virtual event market?
The global market for virtual events amounted to $94.04 billion in 2020. At this rate, it’s expected to grow at a CAGR of 23.7% between 2021 and 2028. Virtual events statistics show that what’s driving the market is the increased adoption of different collaboration and communication tools like Zoom, offering features that facilitate online meetings. The rise of Unified Communication as a Service (UCaaS) in organizations and institutions fosters further growth.
(Grand View Research)