As we round out 2021 and look ahead to the future of events in 2022, we’re preparing for a big year ahead with the latest live event statistics.
If we learned anything from 2020, it’s that we never know what the future of events holds. But this year, with the pandemic subsiding and live events returning, there’s room for optimism – especially once you have a glance at these latest statistics on the live events industry.
A quick note on the numbers: Unless otherwise cited, this data was pulled from the LASSO platform and are based on median numbers comparing August 2019 (the last “healthy” period for the live events industry) to August 2020 (mid-pandemic) to August 2021 (most recent).
#1 Live Event Statistic: Crews are working 120% more than during 2020, and 25% more than in 2019
Here’s some exciting news: We’re not just seeing the industry recover from the pandemic, we’re also seeing the industry grow beyond 2019 levels. Some of this growth could be attributed to an enthusiastic return to events post-pandemic, but hopefully this indicates sustainable, long-term growth for the live events industry.
#2 Live Event Statistic: For every 1 event canceled, 6 new events were scheduled
This graph shows events scheduled (yellow line) and canceled (white line) in LASSO every day between August 1 and September 23, 2021:
The valleys correlate with weekends – when event producers are not usually working to enter data into the LASSO platform.
Even with the unfortunate surge in the Delta variant we saw during this window and the cancellation of some events, the amount of new events being scheduled far outweighed those being canceled. With Delta now receding, we expect these numbers to look even better in the coming months.
#3 Live Event Statistic: There was a 386% increase in the amount of crew hours scheduled from Aug 2020 to Aug 2021
And a 17% increase from 2019 to 2021. Paired with live event statistic #1 and #2, this is great news for everyone in the industry, from event producers to AV freelancers. Work is not just returning – it’s rebounding way past the 2019 benchmark as the live events industry comes back stronger than ever.
#4 Live Event Statistic: 36% percent of event marketers are planning hybrid events
According to research by Pulse Survey, in January, 21% of event marketers were planning hybrid events – that is, with both in-person and virtual audiences. As of the end of July, 36% of event professionals are planning hybrid events. We’re only seeing that proportion continue to rise as event producers recognize the revenue opportunities in hybrid events and AV freelancers level up their skills in hybrid event technology.
#5 Live Event Statistic: In comparison to 2019, the top 5 markets for event industry growth in 2021 have been Boston, Chicago, San Diego, Seattle and Washington, D.C.
Nearly every corner of the country is seeing the live events industry rebound. Whether you’re on the east coast, the west coast, or somewhere in between, the demand for live events – and the workforce needed to revive our industry – is back and growing fast.
#6 Live Event Statistic: 38% of the labor workforce has left the live events industry
Unfortunately one of the biggest impacts of the pandemic on the live events industry is the labor shortage. For many, waiting for events to return, or looking for work on virtual events or in broadcast wasn’t a viable option.
Omar Colom of AV Educate and Evolve Academy explained, “People have gone to another career, they have a 9 to 5, they get a steady paycheck, they’re not waiting 30 days, 60 days, 90 days for a paycheck.”
This statistic may not be entirely attributable to a labor shortage, though. Event technology has also evolved rapidly through the pandemic as new demands have been placed on AV techs and engineers.
As Omar explains, “Instead of having a graphics guy [and] a playback guy, those are now being brought into the media servers, so one man is essentially operating what used to be three positions. And that’s creating a whole new level of skill sets that even before the pandemic weren’t there.”
Is this bad news or good news? Depends on who you ask. Change is always painful, but this could present big opportunities for live event professionals and AV freelancers who continue to invest in their training. As event needs and subsequently event positions change, those who stay on top of their game professionally are perfectly poised to win more work. The demand is high for audio visual labor that is rising to the challenge.
Back-to-back live event statistics:
#7 Live Event Statistic: A median of 30.5 unique crew are working per event in 2021, which is a 103% increase from 2020, but an 8% drop from 2019
#8 Live Event Statistic: In 2019, 1 person filled a median of 2.5 roles. In 2021, one crew member fills 3.5 positions
As we learned from #6 on our list, many AV freelancers have left the industry. Whereas each event had a median of 33 crew members scheduled to work in 2019, that number has dropped to 30.5, and more people are working more event roles. This sounds like yet another story of the live events labor shortage, but it may not be due to the labor shortage alone.
It could be due, at least in part, to role consolidation as Omar explained above and Alex Gray of Protostream elaborates on. “Now, especially between video and audio departments, those things have kind of merged. We’re now ‘Network and Hybrid engineers’. The audio people have to know something about video, the video people have to know something about the audio, and everyone has to know about communications.”
This definitely requires training for AV techs and education for clients. But event producers should also see the bright side of this evolution. You still need the audio visual labor it takes to put on a great hybrid event. But your budget is saved in other ways.
“[Event companies] are trying to incorporate new technologies without the necessary staff. [In hybrid events], you have a live show, and you have a broadcast show. Those are two separate crews,” Alex says. “But the advantage we have with this technology now is that most of this stuff can be handled remotely. You’re not flying as many people in and putting them up in hotels, there’s less per diem, there’s not all this extra stuff that you would normally have.”
As the industry figures out all the nuts and bolts to hybrid events and as we recover from this labor shortage, the number of crew hired per event could increase, but only time will tell how long that road may be.
Live Event Statistic #9: Consumers are now 10-15% more likely to upgrade or personalize their experiences
Chances are, members of your audience spent a lot of 2020 inside, missing a long-planned vacation or grappling with heavier issues like their health. It’s no wonder that 2022 is poised to be one big party. For brands that find ways to incorporate personalization or upsell options into their event marketing strategy, the pay off could be significant. (Source: AnyRoad)
Live Event Statistic #10: 33% of consumers say their top life priorities and values have changed as a result of the challenges and opportunities faced in 2020
Whether you’re catering to an in-person or virtual audience, the experience of the pandemic changed us all. According to EventTrack’s research, consumers say their priorities and values have changed: They’re spending more time with family, focusing on health and wellness, and saving money. And many are simply evaluating their core beliefs. The age groups that have changed their priorities and values the most are those between the ages of 25 and 35, as well as those between 56 and 65.
Not only should this consideration impact your event planning process, you should also consider that these statistics are true for your event production crew and staff. People’s priorities have shifted. They are putting themselves and their families first – so it’s up to employers to make sure they are putting their people first, too.