New Freeman Trends Report Reveals Attendees Are Back

May 31, 2023

Research shows that attendee numbers for the first quarter of 2023 reached 103% of pre-pandemic levels

Dallas, TX (May 31, 2023) – Freeman, the global leader in events, has released the lastest Freeman Trends Report titled “Exhibitor/Sponsor Intent and Behavior Q2 2023​.”

Attendees have officially returned to in-person events, reaching 103% of verified attendance when compared to pre-pandemic levels. Nearly 80% of exhibitors plan to exhibit at the same number of events or more over the next 12 months.

While the growth and momentum is exciting, the research identifies a widening satisfaction gap for exhibitors who believe they are 20% less likely to be able to meet their event objectives vs. pre-pandemic levels.

“Understanding the key findings of the data, and making even incremental improvements can significantly shrink the gap,” said Ken Holsinger, Freeman’s Senior Vice President of Strategy.

Key findings from the report that indicate where organizers and exhibitors can focus to drive greater confidence in achieving event goals include:

  • GAP: Budgets match pre-covid allocations but are not aligned to today’s attendee needs
    • Spending on important factors like social media or exhibit design have not grown, which could mean missed opportunities. For example, social media is an efficient way to create additional touchpoints beyond the event.
  • GAP: 9 out of 10 exhibitors plan to use the same amount of space or more compared to 2019 but should plan on activating that space in new ways
    • Exhibitors need to offer unique experiences for the next generation of attendees.
  • GAP: 58% are positive towards exhibiting and sponsoring at in-person events
    • The most frequently mentioned word by far is “excited,” but the secondary sentiments are “expensive,” and “necessary,” followed by a close call between “positive” and “exhausting.” ​

“To overcome this divide, exhibitors and sponsors need to reframe their return on investment (ROI) into a return on objective (ROO). And adding innovative and integrated digital approaches will help meet this audience needs” says Holsinger.

Results of the Freeman Trends Report – Exhibitor/Sponsor Intent and Behavior Q2 2023 can be downloaded here. Learn more about Freeman at

[email protected]


About Freeman
Freeman is a global leader in events, on a mission to redefine live for a new era. With a data-driven approach and the industry’s largest network of experts, Freeman’s insights shape exhibitions, exhibits, and events that drive audiences to action. The integrated full-service solutions leverage a 96-year legacy in event management as well as new technologies to deliver moments that matter.

This site uses cookies and other technologies, so we can remember you and understand how you and other visitors use our site. By continuing to browse, cookies will be set on your device. For more information, see our Cookie Policy.