UK Conferencing and Events Market Report 2021
“The impact of lockdown and COVID-19 restrictions saw the conferencing and events sector among the hardest-hit industries. Government support has been instrumental in supporting business, but the sector has seen…

UK Conferencing and Events Market Report 2021

£ 1,495 (Excl.Tax)


Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the UK Conferencing and Events market, including the behaviours, preferences and habits of the consumer.

Despite only accounting for 5% of total coronavirus-related business loans issued, the arts, entertainment and recreation industry had the second-highest proportion of furloughed workers (29% of all eligible workers) as of 31 May 2021.

This statistic highlights the depth of impact the pandemic has had on the conferencing and events sector. Available financial accounts point to significant reductions in revenue for 2020, that have led to redundancies, but equally demanded investment into digital capabilities in order to use digital events to at least retain stakeholder engagement.

Generally speaking, digital events have not served to replace in person events financially, and exit from the industry has created skill shortages that are further compounded by new immigration rules and the impact of the pandemic on travel. This could hamper the recovery in the video conferencing market’s value and the market size of the event management industry, and without further investment digital events will not be able to impress businesses financially recovering from the pandemic.

Nonetheless, the pressure to adapt to digital has produced diverse responses, ranging from enhanced networking formats and tools, through to bespoke virtual worlds to host events. The wide variety of strategies and the greater commercial success seen with greater investment and creativity suggest a wealth of opportunities for deploying unique hybrid events, particularly in the business segment.

Proper deployment will enable event organisers to take full advantage of the ending of mandatory COVID-19 restrictions, whilst providing an alternative way to directly address the pitfalls of reduced travel and continued health concerns.

Read on to discover more details or take a look at all of our UK Industrial market research.

Quickly understand

  • The impact of COVID-19 on the conferencing and events market.
  • The projected performance of the conferencing and events market from 2021-26.
  • Analysis of the business, leisure and mixed events segments.
  • How industry practice regarding digital events and COVID-19 mitigation has developed through the pandemic.
  • The potential impact of skill shortages and overseas travel disruption.
  • Analysis of the structure of the events industry and leading businesses in the sector.
  • Video conferencing market research.
  • Market size of event management industry.

Covered in this report

Brands: DMG Events, Hyve Group, RX (Reed Exhibitions), Smyle Creative, Scottish Event Campus.

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

This report, written by Francesco Salau, a leading analyst in the Leisure Time sector, delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

The impact of lockdown and COVID-19 restrictions saw the conferencing and events sector among the hardest-hit industries. Government support has been instrumental in supporting business, but the sector has seen skilled workers leave, which could hamper recovery. Pent-up consumer demand will drive leisure events, while areas such as business that have better adapted to digital offerings are anticipated to move to a hybrid model – taking the best of digital and in-person events to contend with lower overseas visits and health concerns.
Francesco Salau
B2B Analyst

Table of Contents

  1. Overview

    • Key issues covered in this Report
    • COVID-19: market context
    • Economic and other assumptions
    • Products covered in this Report
  2. Executive Summary

    • Impact of COVID-19 on conferencing and events
      • Figure 1: Short-, medium-, and long-term impact of COVID-19 on conferencing and events, 2020-25
    • The market
    • Market size and forecast
      • Figure 2: UK conferencing and events market size and forecast, 2017-26 (£ billion)
    • Market segmentation
      • Figure 3: UK conferencing and events market size, by segment, 2017-21 (£ billion)
    • Companies and brands
    • Industry structure
    • Company profiles
  3. Issues and Insights

    • SIC code issues have prevented the sector from gaining the support it required during the pandemic
    • Digital production, world-building tools and creative focus demonstrate accessible route to digitally enhance events and generate sustainable revenue
  4. The Market – Key Takeaways

    • Conferencing and events value to double as restrictions lift
    • Digitisation helped preserve engagement where it could be deployed
    • Domestic activity to substitute overseas contribution to recovery
    • Investment in virtual event production on the rise thanks to exposure to digital during pandemic
    • Digital here to stay as international travel restrictions prompt need for accessible alternatives
  5. Market Size

    • Lifted restrictions enable in-person activity but self-imposed mitigating measures and digital investment will continue
      • Figure 4: Short-, medium-, and long-term impact of COVID-19 on conferencing and events, 2020-25
    • Conferencing and events market value set to double as pent-up demand meets the end of restrictions
      • Figure 5: UK conferencing and events market size, 2017-21 (£ billion)
  6. Market Segmentation

    • Business events
      • Figure 6: UK market size for business events, 2017-21 (£ billion)
    • Leisure events
      • Figure 7: UK market size for leisure events, 2017-21 (£ billion)
    • Mixed events
      • Figure 8: UK market size for mixed events, 2017-21 (£ billion)
  7. Market Forecast

    • Conferencing and events will see a rapid recovery but Brexit will hinder travel-dependent growth in the short term
      • Figure 9: UK conferencing and events market forecast, 2022-26 (£ billion)
  8. Market Trends

    • Worlds will collide as the potential of virtual events keeps growing
    • Post-COVID skill shortages could affect the scale of recovery
      • Figure 10: UK net migration, by citizenship, 2015-20 (number of persons, thousands)
  9. Market Drivers

    • COVID-19 drives industry diversification
    • Business and trade events take up digital and hybrid events
    • Impact of COVID-19 on travel
      • Figure 11: Annual number of overseas visits, by reason for travel to the UK, 2011-20 (millions of visits)
    • Higher domestic holidaying will fill some of the gap left by international travel barriers
  10. Regulatory and Legislative Changes

    • Events Research Programme
    • Key observations from ERP Phase 1
    • Impact of social distancing measures on attendance
  11. Companies and Brands – Key Takeaways

    • Brexit uncertainty slowed market activity into 2020
    • COVID-19 is driving the diversification of digital strategies for events
  12. Industry Structure

    • Changes in structure of the industry
      • Figure 12: Changes in the industry structure of ‘organisation of conventions and trade show’ activities, 2016-20 (number of local units and businesses)
    • Changes in structure by employment
      • Figure 13: Changes in the employment structure of ‘organisation of conventions and trade show’ activities, 2019 and 2020 (number of local units)
    • Changes in structure by turnover
      • Figure 14: Changes in the turnover structure of ‘organisation of conventions and trade show’ activities, 2019 and 2020 (number of local units)
  13. Company Profiles

    • DMG Events
    • Recent company activity
    • Financial information
      • Figure 15: Financial analysis of DMG Events (UK), 2015-19 (£ million)
    • Hyve Group
    • Recent company activity
    • Financial information
      • Figure 16: Financial analysis of Hyve Group, 2016-20 (£ million)
    • RX (formerly Reed Exhibitions)
    • Recent company activity
    • Financial information
      • Figure 17: Financial analysis of Reed Exhibitions, 2015-19 (£ million)
    • Smyle Creative
    • Recent company activity
    • Financial information
      • Figure 18: Financial analysis of Smyle Creative Ltd, 2016-20 (£ million)
    • Scottish Event Campus
    • Recent company activity
    • Financial information
      • Figure 19: Financial analysis of Scottish Event Campus, 2016-20 (£ million)
  14. Appendix – Data Sources, Abbreviations and Supporting Information

    • Abbreviations
  15. Further Sources and Contacts

    • Trade associations
    • Association of British Professional Conference Organisers (ABPCO)
    • Association of Events Organisers (AEO)
    • The Association of Festival Organisers (AFO)
    • Business Visits & Events Partnership (BVEP)
    • Hotel Booking Agents Association
    • Meetings Industry Association
    • National Outdoor Events Association (NOEA)
    • Trade magazines
    • Conference & Incentive Travel
    • Meetpie

About the report

This market report provides in-depth analysis and insight supported by a range of data. At the same time, introductory and top-level content is provided to give you an overview of the issues covered.


Mintel provides a range of market information, frequently through the category level, including market size and forecasting, complete with market drivers that illustrate the forces that shape a category or market.


Mintel’s proprietary consumer research provides our analysts with the attitudinal and behavioral data used to provide valuable insight to topical issues.


Mintel provides overviews of the top brands and manufacturers, and uses consumer research to explore attitudes and reactions to brands, as well as insight into what will resonate with consumers.


Market reports provide appendices of data to support the research and insight produced. Our databooks* are easily manipulated and downloadable to support your research needs and covers factors from consumer attitudes to market forecasts.

*databooks not available with UK B2B Industry reports.

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