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What age households are the big spenders for location-based entertainment?

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.


About Randy White

Randy White is CEO and co-founder of the White Hutchinson Leisure & Learning Group. The 31-year-old company, with offices in Kansas City, Missouri, has worked for over 600 clients in 37 countries throughout the world. Projects the company has designed and produced have won seventeen 1st place awards. Randy is considered to be one of the world's foremost authorities on feasibility, brand development, design and production of leisure experience destinations including entertainment, eatertainment, edutainment, agritainment/agritourism, play and leisure facilities.

Randy was featured on the Food Network's Unwrapped television show as an eatertainment expert, quoted as an entertainment/edutainment center expert in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, New York Times and Time magazine and received recognition for family-friendly designs by Pizza Today magazine. One of the company's projects was featured as an example of an edutainment project in the book The Experience Economy. Numerous national newspapers have interviewed him as an expert on shopping center and mall entertainment and retail-tainment.

Randy is a graduate of New York University. Prior to repositioning the company in 1989 to work exclusively in the leisure and learning industry, White Hutchinson was active in the retail/commercial real estate industry as a real estate consultancy specializing in workouts/turnarounds of commercial projects. In the late 1960s to early 1980s, Randy managed a diversified real estate development company that developed, owned and managed over 2.0 million square feet of shopping centers and mixed-use projects and 2,000 acres of residential subdivisions. Randy has held the designations of CSM (Certified Shopping Center Manager) and Certified Retail Property Executive (CRX) from the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC).

He has authored over 150 articles that have been published in over 40 leading entertainment/leisure and early childhood education industry magazines and journals and has been a featured speaker and keynoter at over 40 different conventions and trade groups.

Randy is the editor of his company's Leisure eNewsletter, has a blog and posts on Twitter and Linkedin.

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