The 'undecideds' could shape MWC Barcelona this year

Over Easter weekend we asked readers to tell us if they were confident enough in public health measures and conference safety protocols to head to MWC Barcelona this year.

We've been tracking the vendor and service provider travel decisions and were wondering if MWC Barcelona will keep right on going as the communications industry's most important annual meeting place.

Our informal, unscientific survey was timed to end on Monday and it garnered 133 total responses, mostly from the US, UK, Canada and Germany.

When looking at the entire group of survey takers, 72% said they did attend MWC Barcelona in 2019, the last in-person event in that series. Only 15% of the entire group said they were definitely planning to attend MWC Barcelona this year.

When we filtered the results to see only the respondents that did attend MWC Barcelona in 2019, a similar percentage – 16% – indicated they are definitely planning to attend the grand confab this year. Also among the 2019 MWC attendees, 19% marked "Don't know/Haven't decided" when it comes to MWC Barcelona.

Backing up again to the unfiltered results, 17% of the entire group of survey takers said they weren't decided or don't know if they'll attend MWC. That left 68% who were, as of this writing, convinced that they aren't going to attend MWC Barcelona.

The mixed bag of answers is understandable given how different the approaches to COVID-19 containment and vaccination programs have been around the world.

The US, which leads the globe in reported COVID-19 cases and deaths, has suddenly accelerated its rate of vaccinations. In Europe, by contrast, not one country has fully vaccinated 10% of its population as of April 6.

In our survey, 38% of respondents said they weren't expecting to attend ANY in-person conferences or trade shows in 2021. It'll be interesting to see if more optimism abounds as we get closer to the summer.

A full 42% of respondents said they do not expect to be fully* vaccinated by June 1, 2021. We used the US CDC's definition of fully vaccinated.

We'll do a similar survey as we get closer to the MWC Barcelona dates to see what changes.

Phil Harvey, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

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