While live events like trade shows have been very effective for B2B marketers in the past, resulting in sustained growth of the market in recent years, 2020 has been an entirely different story. Due to social distancing restrictions brought on by the COVID-19 outbreak and the subsequent cancellation of many trade shows, PwC estimates that the US trade show market will be cut in size by almost two-thirds this year.
As part of its analysis, PwC examined the broader B2B market in the US, which is made up of the following areas: Business Information; Directory Advertising; Trade Shows; Professional Books; and Trade Magazines.
The growth in the US B2B trade show market has been steady over the past few years. In 2015, it was a $13.1 billion market, while by 2019, it had reached $15.58 billion and was one of the fastest-growing B2B markets. However, one year and a pandemic later, PwC finds that the US B2B trade show market is expected to shrink by 64.3% to $5.56 billion.
The report does forecast a rebound next year, followed by growth in the coming years. By 2021, the market is expected to grow to $8.62 billion and by 2024, PwC forecasts it should be $14.5 billion. However, that would leave it still shy of last year’s $15.6 billion. In other words, PwC doesn’t see this market recovering to last year’s size until some time after 2024.
Business Information Market Outlook More Positive
The US B2B business information market is not expected to be immune from the effects of the pandemic, but it’s not projected to experience the same slow recovery predicted for the trade show market. Although industry revenue is estimated to have a modest dip from $61.27 billion in 2019 to $59.15 billion this year, it is expected to recover quickly, reaching $72.57 billion by 2024, with a projected CAGR of 3.44% from 2019 through 2024, making it the fastest-growing B2B business sector.
It’s worth noting that, according to PwC, the US has the largest business information market in the world. Indeed, with 12 of the 20 largest research firms residing in the US, the $59.15 billion in forecast industry revenue this year accounts for more than half of the total global business information market ($106.70 billion).