This Just In

New Emerald Survey Explores Ways to Expand the Buyer-Seller Relationship Beyond the Show Floor

Frances Ferrante, Senior Editor

NEW YORK, N.Y. — The just-released “B2B Event Industry Outlook Report 2022, Charting Success Amid Evolving Expectations” from Emerald — its first-annual survey of 1,000 B2B event planners, vendors/providers and attendees in the U.S. and Canada — revealed several positive trends for 2020 shows, as well as an overarching shift toward a year-round engagement model.

Among the top findings that point to strong performance for 2022 shows:

  • The number of in-person events, as well as participation in those events, are anticipated to rise in 2022 from 2021 but these increases won’t fully offset 2019 vs. 2021 declines.
  • 2022 will see a 50% increase in the number of in-person events and participants from 2020.
  • B2B vendors/providers expect sales pipeline attributed to events—both live and digital—to more than make up for the downturn from 2019.

Another overarching finding from the research was that, as much as both exhibitors and attendees value in-person events, they are looking for more in terms of year-round engagement and commerce. In fact, 84% of attendees surveyed and 67% of B2B vendors/providers said they want show organizers to help facilitate these transactions.

When asked what types of offerings they would like, 55% of vendors and 54% of attendees said meetups or networking opportunities; 62% of attendees and 47% of vendors said webinars; and close to half of both groups preferred both in-person and online roundtables. A vast majority of both groups (67% of vendors and 84% of attendees) also said they envision shows extending the opportunity to place orders year-round by either developing online marketplaces or integrating e-commerce into existing web sites.

“We have seen a trend that was undoubtedly accelerated and made necessary by the pandemic, to broaden the audience of B2B in-person events and repurpose content more effectively and purposefully across multiple channels, and points in time, throughout the year. This coupled with the need to conduct year-round-commerce to fulfill shifts in buying cycles due to supply chain shortages and/or changes within specific industries is driving the demand for hybrid transformation,” Issa Jouaneh, Executive Vice President, Emerald Xcelerator, said. “As a result, trade shows, events, and conferences are becoming the face-to-face experiences within broader, year-round engagement between buyer and seller. As a result, event and tradeshow professionals are now challenged with adjusting to this new reality while creating a value proposition that resonates.”

The report can be downloaded here.

Reach Issa Jouaneh at