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MWC Barcelona poll: Most say they'll stay away

MWC Barcelona is 45 days away.

And, according to our latest reader survey, almost one in five people in Light Reading's telecom industry audience said they are confident enough in public health measures and conference safety arrangements to head to MWC Barcelona this year.

Our informal, unscientific survey was garnered 133 total responses last time, mostly from the US, the UK, Canada and Germany. This time, one week after the survey opened last Friday afternoon, the number of responses was 196.

In the May survey group, 80% said they attended MWC Barcelona in 2019, compared to 72% in the last survey. In April, only 15% indicated that they were definitely planning to return MWC Barcelona in 2021. A month later that jumped to 19%, with 14% saying they don't know or haven't decided.

As a few undecided folks made their decisions to go, the overall percentage of people saying they would not be at MWC Barcelona this year stayed roughly the same; it was 68% in April and 67% in May.

Filtering the results by the folks who were previous MWC attendees didn't yield any change in the overall results – the numbers were slightly smaller but the percentages of goers and stayers were the same.

Last month, 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.) This time, 56% said they expect to be vaccinated by June 1, a significant jump and a reflection of the rapid vaccine rollouts in the US and parts of Europe.

Another noteworthy change – in our April survey 38% of respondents said they weren't expecting to attend ANY in-person conferences or trade shows in 2021. That number is now at 42%, but half the survey respondents said they were expecting to attend between one and five events in person during the remainder of the year.

Those are just the results from the first 196 survey takers. We'll leave the survey open – you can still take it right here – until June 6 and will post again if the results fluctuate.

One possibility that can't be measured in this poll is that this year's show attracts an entirely different audience outside of telecom. One of the event's most discussed exhibitors is calling the industry's largest technology suppliers (and, presumably, their customers) "has-beens."

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Phil Harvey, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

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