There are many times we wished we knew the real inside demographics about Broadway audiences. Well, they’re not really a secret and we’re all interested in theater goers and their habits.
And so, the Broadway League to the rescue! The 16th annual demographics report, The Demographics of the Broadway Audience 2012-2013, compares current theatergoing habits to previous seasons and aids in predicting trends for the future. The report is part of an ongoing series that profiles Broadway theatergoers each season.
The analysis is based on extensive survey data gleaned from audience questionnaires distributed throughout the 2012-2013 Broadway season in New York City. It includes highlights on the demographics of the audience and their ticket purchasing habits. Each year brings fluctuations to the make-up of the audiences due to a variety of reasons such as content (availability of family fare), weather (Hurricane Sandy affected some local theatre goers), the economy, and changing competition for leisure activities. Therefore, this longitudinal analysis is important to track the trends and changes of the Broadway audiences over time.
In a nutshell, here’s the scoop:
23% of Tickets Were Purchased by Foreign Tourists (highest % in recorded history (2.6 million tickets)
The 2012-2013 Season Attracted Largest Number of Theatre-goers Age 18 – 24 (1.6 million admissions)
41% of respondents said they bought their tickets online
Charlotte St. Martin, Executive Director of The Broadway League commented: “We also saw a notable increase in the diversity of our audiences. In particular, we have seen a growth in the Hispanic audience to nearly 8% of our theatergoing audience.” Regarding the age 18-24 theater-goers: “we are hopeful that this trend will continue and these young adults will continue to attend theatre as they age and introduce the theatre-going tradition to their own families.”
Of note, the newest study reveals that tourists accounted for 66% of all Broadway tickets, up from 63% in the 2011-2012 season. The number of attendances by domestic tourists has grown from 3.4 million in 1999 to 5 million in 2013. The proportion of suburbanites was the lowest on record, at 17% or just under 2 million tickets.
In the 2012-2013 season, the average age of the Broadway attendee was 42.5 years old, slightly younger than the past few seasons. There were just over one million admissions by kids and teens in the 2012 – 2013 season.
In the 2012-2013 season, 78% of admissions were made by Caucasian theatregoers, the same as the previous year. Although the audience is still primarily Caucasian, there is an increase the diversity of audiences. In particular, there has been a growth in the Hispanic audience to 8% of the theatergoing audience, representing approximately 880,000 admissions. This is an increase from two years ago of 2%, or 170,000 theatregoers. The percentage of Hispanic theatregoers was nearly 8%, the second highest in the history of this analysis.
The use of the internet to purchase tickets has been on the rise for the past decade, with telephone sales declining accordingly. The percentage of visits to the box office has remained somewhat consistent over the past decade.
Reflecting a trend of the past few decades, 68% of the audiences were female. Playgoers also tended to be more frequent theatregoers than musical attendees. The typical play attendee saw seven shows in the past year; the musical attendee, three. The average Broadway theatergoer reported attending 4 shows in the previous 12 months. Word-of-mouth was the most influential factor in show selection.
The Demographics of the Broadway Audience is published annually by The Broadway League, the clearinghouse for information on the business, demographics and economic impact of Broadway theatre throughout North America. The League compiles various statistics and publishes extensive reports on a number of topics. Printed versions of the reports are available for purchase online at http://www.broadwayleague.com/orderform.php.