Tech industry events around the world are being canceled, delayed, or moved to an online format because of the coronavirus outbreak. The impact is huge!
Tech Industry Events Seriously Affect the Economy
How Coronavirus Is Impacting Tech Industry Events
The coronavirus pandemic is impacting the world exponentially, and the global economy is taking a hit. As a result, thousands of tech industry events are being canceled or postponed. Some have been adapted to online events to ensure social distancing guidelines are adhered to.
If you have an event penned into your calendar this year, and particularly in the next few months, make sure you check with the organizers regularly as the likelihood is your event will be affected.
To begin with, the list of tech industry events being canceled was just a trickle. Critics questioned the first few to cancel back in February, and the tech world was surprised at the announcements.
Others were soon to follow suit, and now there seems to be a daily tech industry event cancellation and not just those in April and May, but the ones planned for June and beyond.
Decisions have primarily been made because of government shutdowns. However, with people fearing for their health, even if events were allowed, they would not get the usual crowds through the doors. Decisions to delay tech industry events
are therefore twofold; to ensure people are protected for health reasons and to ensure events are protected economically.
This makes sense as people isolate and quarantine, waiting for the risk of the pandemic to subside. As no one knows how long this will last, and with things changing daily, there is much uncertainty.
Tech Industry Events That Have Canceled
Global System for Mobile Communications (GSMA) announced on February 12 that the Mobile World Congress was canceling its conference in Barcelona, scheduled to take place February 24-27, after most of its exhibitors pulled out; Tech giants such as Sony, LG, Ericsson, Intel, Nvidia, and Amazon.
The event typically attracts more than 100,000 people, has 14,000 part-time workers, and is the largest show in the world focusing on mobile appliances. PredictHQ, event data analysts, say the organizers would have lost at least half a billion Euros in revenue.
I/O 2020 was scheduled for May 12-14, but Google canceled because of the coronavirus threat. In a statement, they said, “Due to concerns around the coronavirus (COVID-19), and per health guidance from the CDC, WHO, and other health authorities, we have decided to cancel the physical Google I/O event at Shoreline Amphitheatre.”
Unlike most other companies, Google offered a full ticket refund. They also pledged to donate $1 million to the city of Mountain View, where the event was due to be held, to support small businesses.
Facebook declared that it was canceling its global developer conference, F8, scheduled to take place on May 6-8 in San Jose, California, and its Global Marketing Summit. Although it will hold some smaller local events instead of the main conference, it will share live-stream content and videos.
In 2019 the F8 event attracted over 5,000 attendees, and losses this year are estimated at over $12 million for the travel and hospitality industries. Since the event was canceled, Facebook donated $500,000 to public organizations in the San Jose area.
Tech Industry Events That Have Changed to a Digital Format
Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC 2020) will now be online only. Senior vice president Phil Schiller said, “We are delivering WWDC 2020 this June in an innovative way to millions of developers around the world, bringing the entire developer community together with a new experience.”
Many Las Vegas events have been converted, including Dell World, set for May 4-7, and Cisco Live, scheduled for May 31- June 4. SAP Ariba Live spend management conference originally scheduled for March 16-18 became digital-only.
Salesforce World Tour Sydney changed their conference to online-only on March 4 and was an early test for other organizations.
Salesforce hailed its reorganized online-only World Tour event as a triumph as it accumulated over a million social media impressions. Expectations were surpassed as 80,000 people viewed the live stream of the tech event and had 1.2 million video views on the day across social media.
Although attendance figures before the actual event were not disclosed, last year, the event drew in around 10,000 attendees.
The Financial Costs
Oxford Economics, a leader in global forecasting and quantitative analysis, asserts that business conferences generate over $1 trillion in yearly spending.
According to PredictHQ, the direct economic loss from canceling 10 major tech industry events around the world because of the coronavirus pandemic is estimated at over $1 billion.
Ticket prices are quite high for these events, which bring a decent source of income for the organizations. However, it’s the economic footprint that generates enormous amounts of revenue for the hosting city. The hospitality and travel sector get a boost from attendees and employees.
What makes matters worse is that pandemics are not covered under most insurance policies. Unfortunately, the result of lost revenue is forcing some organizations to lay off employees, adding further woes to the economy.
How Will the Big Tech Companies Cope?
As the risk of coronavirus escalates, it’s only a matter of time before more companies, big and small, will choose to cancel or suspend their conventions. It remains to be seen how significant those financial losses will be. Still, it will undoubtedly be felt by host cities.
The huge demand in the tech industry means that many of the tech giants are likely to come through the crisis reasonably unharmed. Factor in that more people are working from home and using more technology in one form or another.
Most tech companies are advising employees to work from home. If more companies follow their lead, the reaction to the coronavirus outbreak could result in a review of people’s ability to work at home rather than in the office.
Were you due to attend a tech event this year that got canceled, postponed or put online? Please share your own story in the comments section below.