Event Predictions for 2022
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the most discussed topics has been when life will return to “normal” with in-person events. That includes everything from the return to the office, social events, professional events and other big life occasions. It’s happening slowly, but we’re still not there yet.
When it comes to corporate events, we’re tracking how investor events and conferences are shaping up for 2022 and looking for signs of a return to normal for professional affairs. There are several events that public companies are required to hold each year, some have traditionally been virtual, even before the pandemic (earnings calls), some have been in flux since 2020 (47% of shareholder meetings were virtual in 2021), and many others were just plain cancelled to avoid the risk.
The good news: we're seeing the volume of investor conferences and events return to pre-pandemic levels in 2022. Moreso, we’re seeing an even greater turnout for presenters and attendees. The caveat: we know this could all change at a moment’s notice, whether it be with the spread of Omicron or the next variant to emerge. Just this past Wednesday, JPMorgan Chase announced their big annual healthcare conference held in mid-January would go virtual, after initial plans to be in-person in San Francisco.
Number of Events Returning to Pre-Pandemic Levels*
The table below shows how many events, as of December 16, 2021, are scheduled for 2022. You can see the same for the prior 2 years: the number of events as of December 2020 that were scheduled for 2021, and the number of events as of December 2019 scheduled for 2020. We’re still 92 events shy from 2020 numbers, but there is a huge improvement from the paltry 239 events announced by this time for 2021.
Number of Attendees and Presenters Showing Even Greater Improvement*
The number of presenters and attendees at these events has improved even more than the number of events themselves as seen in Table 2. The five largest investor events we collect data on are: conferences, forums, summits, trade shows and seminars. So far there are 1144 confirmed for 2022, vs. 1336 in 2020 and 802 in 2021.
Virtual vs. In-Person*
So far the number of virtual events has pared down from last year. In December 2020, nearly a third of all announced events for the following year (32.4%) were scheduled to be virtual. Currently only 11% of investor conferences and events scheduled for 2022 will be held virtually.
While we’re not out of the woods yet, increasing vaccination rates, availability of booster shots and the overwhelming desire to get back to normal are making that more of a possibility. We’ll continue tracking how these events change as 2022 gets underway and throughout the year.
*Majority of scheduled conferences are in Q1, remaining 2022 conferences will be scheduled as year goes on.