The 2021
Community
Industry Report

Community is more critical to business than ever. Get the data and insights you need to plan a successful 2021 community strategy.

About the Report

Since we launched the annual Community Industry Report in 2017, community has become essential to business. This report will help businesses and community professionals invest in community strategically to leverage this momentum through the next year.

This year, community proved its unique competitive advantage. As traditional ways to connect with customers were disrupted due to COVID-19, investment in community continued to rise. Organizations in our study increasingly see the return on their investment, and community programs continue to mature.

Yet despite a stronger understanding of the value of community, fundamental challenges remain. Quantifying the value of community is still a key frustration, as is aligning with the goals of leadership. And while many believe in taking a stance on issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion, just half have dedicated policies within their community.

The 2021 edition of the Community Industry Report includes responses from 528 community managers who completed our online survey between November and December of 2020. Our results include community professionals from 42 countries, representing a range of industries and company sizes. For more details on respondent demographics, please download the report.

Key Takeaways

1. Community teams are growing and maturing.

Almost 9 out of 10 communities have a dedicated community manager. Two-thirds have at least 2 full-time people on their team, up from 57% in 2019.

have at least one dedicated community manager

2. Community is becoming critical to business.

Overwhelmingly, companies are buying into community. 85% agree that community has had a positive impact on their objectives this year. More than two-thirds of companies plan to increase their investment in the coming year.

say community is critical to their company’s mission

3. Community saw more investment through COVID.

Despite challenges, investment in community continued to reach new heights during COVID-19. A majority of businesses in our study viewed community as more essential during the pandemic, not less.

say they were viewed as more essential since the pandemic

4. Measuring value is a top frustration.

Although the intrinsic value of community is clear, measuring value is still a top frustration for community professionals. Many communities still struggle to financially quantify their impact on the business.

struggle to quantify the value of their community

5. Virtual events are here to stay.

Not only have virtual events have become a critical part of business strategy since COVID-19, but community professionals predict they will continue to play an essential role moving forward.

say virtual events are more critical to their strategy

6. There’s more work to be done to foster inclusion.

Community professionals are invested in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) issues and believe they should be taking a stance. However, just half have specific policies for fostering DEI in their community.

believe organizations should take a public stance on DEI issues

Download the Report

Please enter your name and email address so we can send you a copy of the report. (It’s free!)

Watch the Webinar

Mary Cass, Senior Content Manager, and David Spinks, CMX Co-Founder, walk through key findings from the 2021 Community Industry Report and take live questions from the CMX community.

Browse past reports

The 2020 Community Industry Trends Report

See how the industry has changed since last year’s report

The 2017 Value and Metrics Report

Download our inaugural research into the community industry

The CMX Guide to Community Platforms

How to pick the right community platform for your organization