Understanding Demographics: Who Attends Conventions and Conferences?

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Many agree that conventions and conferences are an integral part of networking and growing a business. But with the unpredictability of 2020, many industry professionals have been left wondering what these events will look like this year and next.

And although the industry will continue to evolve in the midst of the pandemic, most target audiences will adapt and follow suit.

In a recent study, CVENT and Edelman Intelligence identified the key factors that make up today’s conventions and conferences market. We’re highlighting which audiences are most likely to attend events not only in 2020, but also in the years to come.

Attendee Demographics

On average, Millennials and Gen Xers are between 28-30% more likely to attend a work related conference than their Baby Boomer counterpart. While 44% of Gen Xers make up the average age of attendees, millennials make up 42% — a rather promising number. And the possibility of making a connection with an industry peer or learning a new technique within a field makes such events advantageous for all parties involved.

As newcomers enter the workforce, it’s becoming common for them to network in order to increase their career mobility. By speaking with industry professionals in person, attendees can find chemistry between themselves and their peers. And although social networking is a booming business, it can be difficult to find a niche and make meaningful connections. In person events, however, allow for conversation to happen in real time.

Most Popular Industries

It’s no wonder that technology and education are the industries with the highest percent of conference and convention attendance in the United States.

With more and more individuals pursuing a career in technology, it’s likely that we will continue to see these numbers climb. According to CNBC, millennials and Gen Zers are looking towards tech companies “because they are more innovative in nature, [and] give employees a deeper sense of purpose and offer flexibility.” Following this uptick in tech-centered jobs, it’s likely we’ll see young business professionals seeking out more networking events and opportunities.

Conventions and conferences are also a popular means of gaining insight into an array of educational disciplines. The Bizzabo Blog outlines the most popular topics covered at such events, including higher education, education administration, education management, and education tech. And with the continuous adaptation of education in regards to COVID-19, we can anticipate that the rise in conversation between teachers, administration, and IT personnel will require ongoing discussions.

Motivations for Attending

While there are numerous factors that motivate people to attend conventions and conferences, this study identifies the top three key motivators from 2018. According to the study, 69% of attendees ranked “in-person networking opportunities” and “location” as the main reasons for why they participated. Additionally, 65% stated that the “mobile event app” was a key factor in their decision to attend.

Although COVID-19 has undoubtedly impacted the conventions and conferences landscape, one thing is certain: those individuals who saw value in attending prior to the onset of the pandemic are not going anywhere. Regardless of whether these events continue to be hosted in person or shift to a more virtual format, they will continue to be embraced across industries.

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