Cultural changes to entertainment spending by young adults

To bring you the latest trends that impact our industry, White Hutchinson continually researches cultural changes in away-from-home entertainment and food and beverage spending. Find out how the entertainment dollars is shifting for the coveted market of those 25 to 34 years old.

In our continuing examination of systemic cultural changes to away-from-home entertainment spending by Americans, we decided to take a look at the young adult market. We wanted to see if changes there are consistent with the overall shifts we found with all age households in our earlier two-part article, The shifting nature of leisure time and expenditures (Part 1, Part 2). So we zeroed in on households headed by those between the ages of 25 and 34.

After adjusting spending to account for inflation, we found the same patterns we noted for all age households. Young adults are shifting dollars away from out-of-home entertainment to electronic equipment and services (television, video and music electronic equipment and services, including televisions; video recorders; cable television; radios; iPods; CDs; and purchases and rentals of DVDs and video games.). In addition, their expenditures for food-away-from home are increasing.

Between 1998 and 2006, 25- to 34-year-old headed households reduced annual away-from-home entertainment spending by $46, or 9%. During the same time, they increased spending on both electronic equipment and services by $280, or 41%, and on food-away-from home by $407,

Not only did these households increase their dollar expenditures for electronic equipment and services and food-away-from home, they also shifted a larger share of their overall spending into these two categories.


These statistics do not bode well for away-from-home entertainment venues. However, eatertainment venues that combine away-from-home destination dining with entertainment will be going after a market that continues to grow in size. In inflation-adjusted 2006 dollars, the average 25- to 34-year-old household increased spending for the combination of out-of-home entertainment and food-away-from-home from $3,720 in 1998 to $4,362 in 2006, a 12% increase.