There continues to be a myth that younger households are the big spenders and represent the largest market to chase after when it comes to out-of-home entertainment. When we look at total aggregate spending by different age households, what we find is that households headed* by someone age 34 or younger are spending less on community-based entertainment (CBE), which includes such venues as family entertainment centers (FECs), movie theaters, local theme parks, zoos and museums, than those households headed by 45- to 54-year-olds. In fact, total inflation-adjusted CBE spending by the age 34 and younger households has decreased 8% since the year 2000 whereas it has increased by 15% for the 45-54 age households. And not surprising, age 55-64 households spend more than age 25-34 households.
Why is this? Partially it’s because the number of age 45-54 households has grown by 15% since 2000 whereas the number of age ≤34 households has only increased by 4%. Additionally, individual age 45-54 households’ CBE spending has held steady whereas it has decreased by 11% for age ≤34 households.
There is definitely a market opportunity to target younger adults (Millennial) households. However, we see too many new entertainment venues so focused on tailoring their design, offerings and marketing to attract that niche market therefore missing the opportunity where the bigger dollars are. By designing specifically for Millennials, those venues are basically telling the older age households that they don’t belong.
Also see our Leisure eNewsletter article: Are Millennials the market they are cracked up to be?
On the topic of older households having the most spending, I recommend you also check out Nielsen’s blog Don’t Ignore Boomers – The Most Valuable Generation. There is a link in their blog where you can download the entire report.
* The data is from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Consumer Expenditure Survey based on the age of household’s “reference person.” The CEX defines the reference person as one of the persons who owns or rents the home, which in almost all cases is one of the older adults who is the head or co-head of the household.