Organizers of trade shows who are planning events after the COVID-19 pandemic abates may find themselves with few attendees at their offerings.
According to a new IBM Institute for Business Value survey of 25,000 adults, more than half of respondents said they were unwilling to be exposed to gatherings with large crowds for the remainder of this year – with 75% saying they would not be attending any trade shows and business conferences that will be held this year.
But that’s not to say the survey’s respondents will continue to self-quarantine after the all-clear message goes out. One-third of respondents said they were willing to return to their favorite restaurants and bars, another one-third were eager to visit outdoor parks again, 25% were ready to return to the beaches, and one in five were ready to hit the malls and shopping centers once they reopen.
As for getting to their destinations, more than half of people surveyed who used ridesharing apps and services said they would either stop using these services or use them with much less frequency, while 20% who relied on mass transit said they will stay off the buses and trains.
Instead, 1 in 4 respondents predicted they will use their own automobiles exclusively for their transportation needs – although one-third of respondents said that constraints on their personal finances as a result of the pandemic will “greatly” influence their decision to buy a vehicle.
“The study provides further evidence that COVID-19 is permanently altering U.S. consumer behavior,” said Jesus Mantas, senior managing partner at IBM Services. “There are long-term implications of the new consumer behaviors for industries like retail, transportation and travel among others. These organizations need to quickly adapt their business models to serve the new consumer behaviors in order to survive and thrive.”