The Show Must Go On: Insights in Entertainment Inform Businesses for 2022

With 2021 winding down, consumers aren’t just back in business: they’re ready to rock. Even with mask mandates still in effect for much of the U.S., location data shows that people are once again on the move. Indeed, foot traffic is on the rise, and we’re seeing an uptick in visits to various entertainment venues. In fact, 77% of Americans have returned to entertainment & leisure activities in recent months, including museums, concert venues, theme parks, movie theaters, and casinos.

Looking ahead to the new year, it’s imperative for brands, agencies, and enterprises to understand just where post-quarantine consumers are happily returning. With this in mind, Foursquare took a close look at consumer behavior over the last six months (June through September 2021).

To better set the stage for 2022, take a look at three key trends across entertainment and leisure:

  1. Consumers are ready to face the music.  As pandemic restrictions are lifted (especially for outdoor venues), consumers are itching to see their favorite artists perform live again. While less than 4% of Americans visited a comedy club or mini-golf course in recent months, 28% visited a concert venue at least once over the summer of 2021. Most of these concerts took place on Friday and Saturday nights, between 6-7 pm, with many concert-goers choosing to grab a bite on the way. 35% of the crowds were in the South, with 24% in the Midwest, 23% in the West, and 19% in the Northeast. So far, hotspots for shows include Chicago, LA, NYC, Dallas, and Cleveland—that said, people are willing to travel for shows: 20% of all concert-goers took a train to their venue, while 18% hopped a plane and 15% booked a hotel. The first to surf the crowds were Millennials: college students, young professionals, and urban dwellers between 25-44. While these numbers may dip in the colder months – when fewer outdoor music venues are open – there will likely be another bump in the Spring of 2022.
  2. Hold the popcorn.  While Los Angeles theatres continue to thrive, only 25% of Americans country-wide visited a movie theatre this summer, with a peak of 14% in the heat of the July box office. As with concerts, movie theatres were especially populated down South (34%), as opposed to the Northeast (16%). Most moviegoers seem to have made a date of it, grabbing dinner before the evening feature. The primary ticket-holders were also Millennials, ages 25-34, particularly college students and parents with young children. Unlike music venues, where foot traffic has gradually increased since April, there has been a steady decline in movie theater traffic since the start of summer. Over the last two years, consumers have become increasingly comfortable with home screenings and microwave popcorn. However, traditionally we do see an uptick in visits to movie theaters around the holidays.
  3. Consumers missed Mickey:  This summer, the real magic of Disney may have been the shorter lines: only 18% of Americans visited a theme park between April and September. The busiest month for Mickey and friends was July, with a peak attendance of 9%. Those thrill-seekers who visited theme parks were willing to travel to get there, driving an average of 125 miles by car—accounting for more than half the total traffic in the South (where 61% of theme park visitors buckled in). Millennials are once again leading the charge, particularly females and young families. The holidays will likely bring these numbers up, with long-awaited family vacations resuming as promised.

‘Tis the season for fun, family activities, and we can certainly expect to see more surges in entertainment outings throughout the remainder of the year. Businesses can use this data to better understand the preferences of their target audiences, informing marketing strategies, staffing plans, and inventory planning for 2022. What’s more, this information is crucial for highlighting areas where businesses can turn their attention (and budgets) before the New Year’s Eve ball drops.

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