While people are quarantined at home due to the novel coronavirus outbreak, the government and corporate officials are moving businesses in a new direction. The pandemic has compelled people to adopt online technologies for most of their daily activities. Companies are practicing social distancing by allowing employees to work from home and organizing virtual events with less fear of contracting a deadly disease. Technological advancement has made connecting through a virtually created world effortlessly and enjoyable. High-speed internet has enabled the seamless transfer of gigabytes of data.
Impact of COVID-19 on the Virtual Events Market
Gathering more than a handful of people in a certain area has disrupted events, from the Tokyo Olympics to small daily activities, such as grocery shopping. Malls, parks, auditoriums, and other public places, leading to the cancellation of significant events for months. Technology has emerged as a lifesaver, allowing people to connect with others in virtual worlds.
A survey from 6Connex, Inc. revealed that Virtual events rose by 1,000% since the beginning of 2020, with virtual events platform witnessing more than 52,000 events and sub-events over the last few months. Many webinar platforms such as the Virtual Show, Adobe Connect, Accelevents, and On24, are witnessing never anticipated increment in businesses. Emerging virtual event platforms are still facing tough competition from giants such as YouTube and Zoom.
Growing Adoption of Digital Media Marketing Platform Drives the Market Growth
An increasing number of events in sports, gaming, and entertainment sectors over the past decade and burgeoning use of technology to streamline the events from start-to-end is a prime factor driving the market growth. Marketing channels, vendors, and firms are increasingly looking for collaborations with event organizers to drive businesses. Apart from this, changing consumer lifestyle has compelled the companies and consortiums to look for innovative alternatives in order to organize theme-based meetings that can be accessed from anywhere at anytime
Rising Popularity of Online Streaming Drives the Market Growth
There has been a massive increase in the global live streaming market since the pandemic surfaced. It has proved to be a very effective way to replace in-person presentations and sessions. Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, Apple TV, Roku, and Boxee are some of the prominent players in the online entertainment hub and many companies are contacting such platforms to deliver their content virtually.
Adobe decided to go for pre-recorded routing for their recent Summit. However, the session lacked in real-time management, the ability to be edited or enhanced greatly improved certain speakers' performances. The non-real-time approach eliminated several common challenges of virtual events, such as planning around different time zones and connectivity issues. The video and audio communication type generated approximately 89% of consumer internet data traffic in 2018 and will continue to do the same with the rapidly emerging concept of virtualization.
Technological Advancements and Hybrid Event Innovations to Offer Lucrative Market Growth
The virtualization of big events that gather hundreds and thousands of people is anticipated to unlock the new doors of opportunities for international business in the post-pandemic world. Creating a virtual event is less expensive as recorded sessions can be reused in the future, which is why the global companies are heavily investing in the approach. For instance, Webit transitioned from one of the world’s largest tech and innovation in-person festivals into a global leadership network hosting three virtual summits per week.
Increasing demand for personalized video due to changing consumer preference provides an impetus to the market growth. Recently, Adobe introduced its Sensei AI engine that has the ability to create high-end experiences based on people's behavior on the platform. Content delivery in a virtual format is expected to trend among modern consumers in the near future. Digital summits and virtual reality will take over immersive environments by allowing attendees to experience familiar aspects of event spaces through the virtual format. Tech giants such as Facebook and Microsoft have canceled various live events of 2020 and will continue delivering event experiences to attendees and stakeholders from the comfort of home.
Virtual Events Market: Segmentation
Unified Communications & Collaboration (UC&C) and Video Conferencing Segment to Dominate the Market
Congregation of large and small business enterprises to the virtual event platforms in order to address and deliver content to the audience bolsters the market growth. Postponement and cancellation of various trade shows and conferences due to the coronavirus outbreak has compelled officials to reallocate funds for organizing online meetings and connect to their audiences in a safe environment.
Companies such as Oracle, Demandbase Inc., Adobe, Outreach.IO, and Inverta are adopting virtual platforms to launch new products or conduct meetings with clients. People can watch live demos and interact with product experts from their remote locations. Video conferencing is expected to witness a significant demand due to the lockdown imposed by the government across the globe.
Rapid globalization, growing need to enhance competitive responsiveness among businesses and rising internet penetration drive the segment growth. Unified communications & collaboration (UC&C) is expected to emerge as the most prevalent segment in the forthcoming years on account of the growing demand for software service (SaaS) models from the small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). Growth in promotional events such as news releases, digital magazine launch, and summits is expected to drive the adoption of digital platforms by companies for content delivery and information exchange.
Corporate Sector: Largest Adopter of Virtual Events
Rising demand for a communication platform from education, finance and banking, healthcare, hospitality, and other industry verticals drives market growth. The corporate sector is expected to be the largest adopter of virtual events in the upcoming years, followed by the healthcare sector.
Virtual events such as online meetings, video conferencing, video calls, instant messaging, and online chats that allow information sharing in real-time is the need of the hour. The rise in telemedicine and online doctor consultations adds fuel to market growth. Increasing pressure on hospitals due to the pandemic has compelled the doctors and healthcare officials to conduct telemedicine for other patients around the world. Various agencies and organizations are organizing workout and meditation sessions on virtual platforms that attendees can tune into.
COVID-19 Outbreak to Accelerate the Virtual Events Market in North America
North America holds the largest share in the virtual events market on account of a seismic shift towards online communication tools and platforms for sports events, educational seminars, marathons, film festivals, and others. The region is bolstered by the presence of key companies such as Microsoft, Google, and Facebook, and umpteen emerging players. As per the Billboard, over 800 music festivals are hosted in the U.S. alone, attracting over a million people every year.
The growing importance of business meetings in the corporate and government sector is expected to fuel the event planning market growth during the forecast period. The U.S. Labor Department estimates that the number of meeting planner jobs will increase by 16% over the next decade.
The COVID-19 pandemic has highly disrupted the event management market due to the postponement and cancellation of sports, entertainment, and educational events. Global entertainment giant Cirque du Soleil canceled its 44 shows around the world until January 2021. ESPN reported that the U.S. sports can witness huge losses in revenue if NFL and college gridiron games are canceled due to the shutdown. In the U.S., a loss of more than USD 12 billion is estimated to be registered from the sports and entertainment industries in 2020
Virtual Events Market Segmentation
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