Digital Nomad Demographics and Results - Nomad Summit 2020 Chiang Mai

This has been a really interesting year for digital nomads and the conference. This was our 6th annual event in Chiang Mai and our 8th digital nomad summit worldwide since we've started. Chiang Mai itself has changed a lot this year with new hot spots popping up around the world and a lot of nomads migrating away from the February/March burning season smog and going to places like Da Nang in Vietnam instead. The city felt less crowded all of December and January but was still an amazing place to be with over 300+ digital nomads from around the world coming for our yearly event.

This was the first year we had attendees from 35 different countries attend, including our first ever attendees from Costa Rica, Guatemala, Hong Kong, India, UAE, Korea, Latvia, Lithuania and Mauritius just to name a few. Keep reading for the entire demographics breakdown, which is a good insight on the demographics of Digital Nomads in general, as well as what we learned from this event and what we're going to do differently to continue making it better each and every year as we learn, grow, and improve, just like we as entrepreneurs aim to do in our everyday lives and location independent businesses.

Digital Nomad Demographics

We collected data from the credit card issuing country for those who buy tickets to the Nomad Summit both on our website and through paypal. Our data is representative for the digital nomad community as a whole in general, but is skewed towards those who speak English. The biggest majority of attendees were American, followed by UK, Germany, Canada, and Australia which has been a trend throughout the events we've held. Other countries represented this year included attendees from all over Europe, Asia, and a few from as far as Russia, the Middle East, Central and South America.

Age and gender breakdowns were gathered through the demographics of our private attendees only facebook group data. The split was 32% women and 68% men which also seems to be the norm in the digital nomad community as a whole. Our attendee age range spanned all the way from 18-65 years old, however the vast majority was from 25-44 years of age which is also on par with the digital nomad community as a whole worldwide, which proves true as we've cross referenced it with the Digital Nomad Tribe facebook group with 3,460 members as well as the Digital Nomad Coffee Club - Chiang Mai group which has 8,700 members and the results were very similar with 36% women and 64% men in those groups on average and very similar age ranges.

However, other groups such as the Digital Nomad's Forum have posted ratios of 43.5% Women to 56% Men which is slightly higher, but then again that group is mostly people who are in the planning stages of being a digital nomad, while the Chiang Mai and Nomad Summit groups are mainly those who already made the jump. That could mean that there are almost 50/50 Men and Women interested in becoming a digital nomad, while currently there are slightly more men who are actively living the lifestyle. Take a look at the charts below for a breakdown of the demographics for details.

Nomad Summit 2020 Chiang Mai Attendees

Demographics from the Nomad Tribe Facebook Group

Attendees Nomad Summit 2020 Chiang Mai 

Event Recap and Review

When writing the description for this year's event, I had to triple check if it was actually our 6th annual event in Chiang Mai or not as that sounds like such a long time to have been around. I had to actually go through and check the dates for all of our old youtube videos on the channel to count them as otherwise I wouldn't have believed it. The good news is we're the longest running digital nomad conference in the world and each year we really do strive to get better and better. The funny thing is that the better we get, the harder it is to get attendees to fill out surveys at the end as when people are happy they tend not to take the time to leave a review or give feedback. But from what I've heard through word of mouth through other attendees, people really loved it this year and plan on coming back again.

That it itself is probably the biggest compliment to a great event is the fact that we've had people come back multiple years in a row to attend again. But the other biggest compliment is knowing that 67% of attendees who fill out the feedback survey said that they have already recommended the conference to their friends to attend next year. I was also surprised that even with the few constructive criticisms we got, even those people said that they would recomend the event to others with the only difference being 25% said they would only recomend it to those just starting out while 10% said they would only recomend it to those already more advanced and established. It's something that is hard to juggle, trying to make the conference have something for everyone, as I believe that having a room full of people from all levels is beneficial to everyone. The established get fresh ideas and energy as well as the possibility of hiring or partnering with those starting out, while those who are new get inspiration and mentorship.

Here's the video aftermovie of what the conference was like this year and who attended.

The Attendee Feedback

Overall attendees really enjoyed the event and I was super excited to have hosted it again in Chiang Mai. Out of the feedback submitted, the number 1 thing that people get out of the event each an every year is the networking. Even though there are plenty of smaller meetups in Chiang Mai and throughout the world for digital nomads, the Nomad Summit consistently brings the best people in attendance each year.  There really is something special about this event that attracts open minded, motivated, and hard working people. Even just the fact that it's a paid event weeds out those who aren't serious about leveling up, personal development, learning new skills or growing their network.

The surprisingly thing is that 50% of our attendees this year actually said that they would be happy to pay higher ticket prices to attend next year. For a long time we've tried to keep prices super low so everyone could come regardless if they were just starting out or bootstrapping. But at the end of the day, a three day conference that includes food, coffee, water, drinks, multiple days of networking, talks, and organization is really cheap for $200 and we're actually doing attendees a disservice but not raising our prices to both weed out those who aren't serious about coming, as well as be able to pay our staff to organize earlier and provide more structured networking.

Each year we experiment with more networking opportunities and this year we introduced speed networking before the Sunday pool party as well as a deep connections workshop on Monday on top of the scheduled networking events we have throughout the event. We learned that more is better and next year we're going to have one Nomad Summit team member's entire job be to set up and facilitate organized networking on each day. This year we had attendee orgazed pre-meetups which were a huge success, and next year we'll add those to the calendar to make them official, as well as keep in the sticky waterfalls and elephant nature park trips as well as those were both well loved.

Voted Favorite Talks

One of the big secrets of how we do things at Nomad Summit is that instead of having various tracks or multiple talks happening at once so we can advertise "30 speakers!" or "50 speakers!" is the fact that we are super picky which who gets invited on the keynote stage every event and take a lot of time to both pre screen as well as work with the presenters to make sure that each talk gives everyone in the audience value. We purposely don't show the schedule ahead of time, and discourage people from hanging outside during chats or skipping topics that don't seem to apply to them, as we know that the most valuable things often come from places you weren't looking. 

When I asked a few of the attendees who paid for the more expensive VIP tickets why they came to the event, despite them already being hugely successful in their own business, most of them universally said it was to see what other successful people are doing. This mindset might be why they're successful in the first place, but either way, seeing what is working in other fields outside of your own, and learning from those who are successful is the best way to level up yourself. It's funny that people who don't think it's worth paying money to attend conferences, are usually the ones who would have benefited from going the most. 

Either way, in case you missed the event this year, we'll be posting all of the full talks on our youtube channel so make sure you subscribe to it to see them as they come out. But to get the most from them, make sure you turn off your phone, and sit down to watch them all in order just like you would if you were attending live, as it's easy to miss things when you're watching at home or just scrolling through. Here are the survey results of the attendee's favorite talks of the year, I'm proud that each and every talk got voted as someone's favorite and a lot of people wrote in "all were great." Here are the results: 

Lessons Learned and Future Plans

In past years we thought that the goal for the conference was to get bigger each year and my goal was to have 600-1,000+ attendees one  year. But we've learned that anything over 300 is a mess and makes it really hard for people to network and actually meet each other. That's why we've decided to cap the event at 300 attendees and reward people who plan ahead and buy their tickets early instead of waiting till the last minute to decide if they want to go or not. All future Nomad Summit conferences will sell out, and that's a good thing.

That allows us to better plan, create more structured networking and not have to deal with the time consuming hassles of on-boarding people who buy tickets last minute. For our next conference in Tbilisi, Georgia we have a physical room size of 200 attendees max, so we'll be able to have smaller group networking like we did in Las Vegas and Playa Del Carmen that attendees really enjoyed.  We're also pushing all attendees to stay at the same host hotel so everyone can hang out, cowork, and even eat together during the week before and after the conference.

For the next Chiang Mai event, we haven't started planning it year as we're first focused on Tbilisi, but the plan is to move it up by six weeks to avoid pushing into burning season which seems to start earlier and earlier each year. The proposed dates will be from December 4th-7th, 2020 in Chiang Mai, which causes the issue of naming as we can't call it Chiang Mai 2020 again. Let me know in the comments below if you have a name suggestion, and subscribe to the email list at for first shot at early bird tickets whenever they go on sale and is officially announced.

Thanks for another great Nomad Summit everyone!

With love,

Johnny FD

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  1. About Chiang Mai next year.....I agree with moving it up some in the schedule but the month of December is really next to impossible for me..

    What about earlier in January? Combine it with New Years event?

    1. Thanks for the suggestion, but we're really trying to push people to come to Chiang Mai even earlier as the months of Oct/Nov/Dec are really amazing.


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