Who is booking now? Changes in ticket buyer demographics post COVID-19
Executive Summary – Key Findings
- Data from 260 CRM systems suggest that while ticket sales have greatly reduced for all buyer types, the greatest decline has been in older audiences in both the United Kingdom and the United States.
- While the prospect of an audience return to ‘normality’ with a younger average demographic would be welcomed, it presents potential challenges to the financial viability of arts organizations since the combined average value of ticket purchases and donations is far higher for older patrons.
- Organizations who balance growing the number of younger patrons engaging with alternative artistic product while also retaining older generations’ philanthropic support seems to be an emerging best practice for finding resiliency through COVID-19.
- The proportion of subscribers who belong to the Silent Generation decreased from 29% pre-COVID to 17%.
- Millennial audiences doubled their proportional purchase from 4% to 9%.
- Generation X has also seen a significant proportional increase, from 14% to 21%.
- The mix of donors by generation changed similarly, with decreases in contributions from Silents, and an increase in proportional contribution from Gen X and Millennials.
- The proportion of donor income from Millennials has tripled in FY21.
- As well as a reduction in the average age of bookers, single ticket buyers for 2020/21 are proportionately more ethnically diverse, with a decrease of 2.9% in white bookers compared to the previous year.
- Changes in the ages of bookers in the U.K. have been less dramatic.
- Pre-COVID, 21% of the ticket booking audience was 65 or older; that number has declined to 18% of buyers today.
- The largest increases are from audiences aged 25-44.
- There has been no statistically significant change in the ethnic diversity of ticket bookers, as measured by responses to online surveys.
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TRG Arts is continually studying the impact of COVID-19 on the resiliency of the arts and cultural sector.
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COVID-19 International Sector Benchmark studies live transactional data from across the globe. See your organization's near real-time sales and giving data in your Dashboard and understand the effects of COVID-19 on your operations against a benchmark of similar organizations. Over 400 arts organizations are using the Dashboard to understand how audiences are responding to their ticketing and giving campaigns.
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This project is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts through our partnership with SMU DataArts.