The impact of COVID-19 on business events

The events industry plays an important role in bringing people together. People love to attend all sorts of different events to engage in a shared experience, learn something new or be inspired.

While COVID-19 has directly impacted many businesses and individuals, the events industry has been particularly hard hit. Our research for the Business and Events Council showed almost all business events (96%) scheduled for 2020 have been cancelled or postponed. This equates to a total loss of around 1.1 million event days. It is estimated that the total loss in the business events sector will likely be between $29.4 and $35.7 billion in direct expenditure.¹

96% business events cancelled

Prior to COVID-19, the demand for live experiences was growing across the generational board but particularly amongst the future generation of event attendees – Millennials. Since 1987, the share of consumer spending on live experiences relative to total spending had increased by 70%², showing that people valued attending events in person for the experiential element as well as to forge meaningful connections with others.

Events contribute significantly to the Australian economy, accounting for 15.2 billion USD dollars in direct GDP impact. Australia punches above its weight, ranking 8th amongst the top 50 countries for business events³.

Major markets for event firms include private businesses hosting promotional events, industry associations, Government departments and academia. Music, sporting and other entertainment tickets are also in high demand.

Although COVID-19 provided a devastating blow to a much-loved sector, the events industry has responded to a changing market with innovation and digital transformation, which is set to shape the future of the industry in a post-COVID era.


¹Business Events Council of Australia, Lost business report, 2020
²Eventbrite, Millennials Fuelling the Experience Economy, 2014
³Events Industry Council, Global Economic Significance of Business Events, 2018

Tags: Events | Mark McCrindle | Speakers |