Due to the spread of the Corona pandemic, many face-to-face trade shows around the world have been postponed and some have been held as digital events using various virtual tools. According to a survey of 427 German exhibiting companies in the mechanical engineering,
electrical engineering and electronics industries, as well as optics, photonics and medical technology sectors in Q4/2020, digital events are currently no or no permanent alternative to real trade fairs for most exhibiting companies: 17% of the companies are currently using digital events due to the numerous trade fair cancellations, but want to abandon this commitment again when physical trade fairs can be held again. 48% want to continue to rely on real trade shows in the future, but continue to use digital supplements. As many as 14% do not see purely digital events as an alternative even if no real trade shows can be held. Only 21% regard virtual presentations as serious alternatives to real trade fairs, even in the long term. The survey involved the German associations Deutscher Industrieverband für Optik, Photonik, Analysen- und Medizintechnik e.V. (Spectaris), Berlin/Germany, the German Engineering Federation (VDMA), the German Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers' Association (ZVEI), both Frankfurt/Germany, and the Association of the German Trade Fair Industry (AUMA), Berlin.