Report Finds Live Ents. is Still Priority Expense

Ticket resale marketplace Tixel and entertainment marketing agency Bolster have joined forces to delve into the state of live events and ticketing, with their first-ever UK and Ireland-focused report. A deep dive into how ticket buyers are spending, on what, and why, the report is brought to life with invaluable input and expert commentary from Tixel’s network of event promoters, ticket platforms, and of course, event goers. Designed to guide anyone in the live events ecosystem through an ever-changing market, the report offers insights and a veritable view of what ticket buying looks like in today’s world — from ticketing trends, the impact of fandom and FOMO (and FOSO), the aftermath of the pandemic, continuing expectations around flexibility, last-minute purchasing and event genres that really make gig goers tick.

Despite a cost-of-living crisis and the threat of recession, the appetite for live entertainment remains strong with 75%of event goers attending more, or the same amount of events as last year, yet many promoters and festival organisers are struggling to balance increased production and talent costs with an increase to ticket prices that’s acceptable to consumers. Consumers may well be tightening their belts day-to-day but results show that live entertainment and events are a priority expense for almost half (48%) of attendees, with a third suggesting it is a similar priority to other expenses, and Gen Z scoring highest with this sentiment.

Consumers’ relationship with events is shifting, with much greater emphasis on pre-existing affection for the artist and performer. As we see Fandom sweep the globe, this is the dominating driving force for ticket purchases for almost 80% of respondents.

As we look ahead to a busy summer of sport ramping up to the UEFA Euros and Paris 2024 Olympics (amongst others), promising findings show that ticket buyers are willing to spend more on average (£91) for a major sporting event than seeing globally-renowned artists in a stadium or arena (£84). They’re even willing to spend almost double the amount of a major sporting event in comparison to a theatre performance (£56), and triple the price of a local music concert (£36) or a comedy show (£35).

The desire for purchase flexibility has shifted from trend to ingrained habit as busy ticket buyers call for greater flexibility when spending. Over ⅔ of us are more likely to make a purchase if there is the option to re-sell later and 81% suggest they find it annoying or off-putting when there is a lack of resale options. And while there are tons of factors that influence the decision to sell a ticket, calendar clashes tops the lot for ¼ of those surveyed. Interestingly, even amidst the cost of living crisis, the lure of liquidating cash spent on tickets rarely drives event-goers to give up tickets.

It’s no secret that the UK’s festival industry has been hard hit by the impact of inflation with a multitude of cancellations this year alone causing uncertainty in the industry. But it’s not all doom and gloom as big draw acts like Ed Sheeran and Dua Lipa return to the festival circuit after lengthy tours which we’re hopeful will drive people from stadiums back to fields. Event goers were shown to be more likely to attend a festival that has a real sense of community (in addition to the lineup being a high motivator) so highlighting the unique, memorable aspects of an event will be important for success, especially for smaller or newer events that have more diverse or emerging lineups.

Tixel and Bolster’s ‘Big Ticket Items’ report into Ticketing State of Play 2024 (UK and Ireland) is available here: