Gen Z attitudes bring fresh expectations to business events

gen z
ICC CEO Geoff Donaghy at the report's launch.

A new report has highlighted the importance of socially impactful, sustainable, accessible, innovative and connected event experiences particularly for Gen Z attendees.

According to the RESPECT: Shaping Events for Success report released by McCrindle and ICC Sydney, 69 per cent of Australians attended local entertainment events and 46 per cent attended local business events in 2023, with high representation from Gen Z.

“Australians have returned to events with fresh expectations,” said demographer Mark McCrindle.

“Our quickly evolving society, culture, environment and technology are shaping their outlook and sentiment. In particular, Gen Z seeks to engage with events in new and immersive ways that prioritise human connection and social impact – all these elements are already supported at ICC Sydney every day.”

The report showed two in three Australians place high importance on an event’s ability to create an accessible and inclusive space for all.

Almost half of respondents (46%) value events that provide the opportunity for human flourishing, including contributing to those in need.

Respondents also valued events designed for inclusion and engaging local communities – 52 per cent valued inclusion of those with a disability, 51 per cent valued involving local communities, 41 per cent valued showcasing local culture, 40 per cent valued inclusion of diverse genders and sexualities and 39 per cent valued creating a culturally inclusive space at events.

Half (52%) of respondents consider sustainable and environmentally friendly practices to be extremely/very important at an event.

Globally, sustainability is a key factor for 80 per cent of event professionals. A venue’s commitment to sustainability is a key consideration, with 52.8 per cent rating it as either extremely influential or very influential when selecting a venue.

Events that prioritise health and wellbeing are extremely important to 55 per cent of Australian respondents, particularly millennials (64%).

Gen Z is the group that places the highest value in opportunities to form new connections at an event (60% extremely/very important). Additionally, Gen Z is twice as likely as their older Baby Boomers counterparts to believe that social media is effective for promoting connection at events.

“Through a demonstration of our commitment to engage with all generations, the report underpins ASM Global’s commitment to operating a venue that meets the expectations of event organisers and attendees of today and tomorrow,” said ICC Sydney CEO Geoff Donaghy.

Samantha Glass, ICC Sydney’s Director of Corporate Affairs, Communication and Sustainability, said the venue team’s respectful business initiatives were reflective of international market sentiment.

“Respect is at the core of how we interact with each other, the way we conduct business and relate to the world around us,” she said.

“Through the research combined with our team’s insights, organisers can create immersive experiences for all generations, in an inclusive event environment, where opportunities to maintain delegate wellbeing is prioritised.”