The risk of catching the coronavirus, getting sick, possibly being hospitalized, and even death is going to diminish over the coming months as people get vaccinated. More and more people will once again be visiting out-of-home entertainment and arts (OOH E&A). However, the virus is not the only thing keeping people from attending out-of-home public leisure events. Even when they gain immunity from Covid, there’s another factor. The pandemic has had an adverse financial impact on many people due to loss of work or reduced incomes, causing them to tap savings and retirement funds or go into debt. It will take many people a long time to dig out of their financial hole. Many may never fully recover. As a result, their discretionary spending on OOH E&A will be severely limited compared to pre-Covid.
A greater share of the lower socioeconomic has had financial difficulties during the pandemic than the higher socioeconomic. We are likely to see less attendance by them post-Covid than pre-Covid. This will result in the higher-socioeconomic being a higher percentage of the remaining attendance and spending than pre-Covid when households headed by someone with a bachelor’s or higher degree accounted for nearly three-quarters of all spending for fees and admissions to OOH E&A. The industry will become even more bifurcated, more gentrified.
Here’s some current data on the pandemic’s financial struggles by different demographics.
Now for the good news. People are most excited about getting together with family and friends and dining in sit-down restaurants. But only one percentage point behind dining at their favorite sit-down restaurant, they are eager to get back to visiting “fun places,” which includes LBEs and FECs. It’s likely that the most social LBEs and FECs, those they can visit with family or friends and have a social experience together, will be the initial top choice for most people.
Tomorrow’s issue of our monthly Leisure eNewsletter will have an in-depth analysis of the potential impact a post-pandemic-era permanent increase to working from home may have on OOH E&A. If you aren’t signed up to receive our eNewsletter, you can subscribe by clicking here.
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