The live entertainment industry is bouncing back

Ticket sales have increased by 292% within just two months as the theatre industry begins to bounce back. Here are our thoughts on why...

Venues across the world have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. The 23rd March was a particularly dark day for creative industries in the UK as venues were forced to close their doors. Similar moments happened across the world, and ticket sales plummeted in the process.

We analysed our ticket sales database to find out exactly how venues have been impacted by the crisis.

On the week beginning 6 April 2020, the venues we analysed made just 2565 ticket sales.

Fast-forward eight weeks to the week beginning 8 June 2020, and the data tells a different story. From 8 – 14 June 2020, a total of 10055 tickets were sold. That’s an uplift of 292% within just two months.  

The staggering uplift in ticket sales shows customers are confident in returning to venues in the future. Here are our thoughts on why:

2021 is going to be a great year

People are missing live entertainment. 2020 may be viewed as somewhat of a ‘lost year’ for theatres and entertainment venues. But 2021 is going to deliver big time. Venues are cramming next year’s calendar full of rescheduled shows and new events to attract large audience numbers. This means theatregoers have an abundance of shows to look forward to.

Tours and one-off events are regularly being announced for next year. This is leading to a surge of ticket sales as people book in for 2021. After all, who doesn’t want to get the best seats in the house?

Venues are getting innovative

We’re seeing a rise in the number of organisations getting creative with their events offerings. Drive-ins are making a resurgence, and outdoor events are set to be the next big thing. With venues expected to remain shut for the foreseeable future, directors and producers are putting their thinking caps on. How can they continue to create great entertainment whilst ensuring the safety of customers and staff?

We’re going digital

As we’ve discussed in previous blog posts, the number of searches for digital theatre has increased dramatically over the last few months. Though online streaming and cinema screenings of live entertainment has been around for many years, it seems to have gained significant traction during lockdown. Will this be a temporary phase? We don’t think so.

Many venues are throwing resources at developing unique and unusual online offerings. When lockdown lifts and the world is allowed to enjoy live entertainment together once more, we predict profitable digital events will still have a place within the industry. People are buying tickets to digital events, such as streamed concerts or play readings. They are likely to continue to hunt out the opportunity to enjoy quality live entertainment from home.

The future of refund protection

It is also interesting to note how the pandemic may have influenced people’s attitude towards refund protection. In the 10-week data period we analysed, 37% of ticket purchasers opted to buy additional refund protection. Over a third of purchasers are seeking additional security and peace of mind, perhaps indicating the increasing need for venues to reassure and support customers as individuals begin looking to book for future events.

We now know to expect the unexpected – illness, travel disruption and other incidents can and do occur. Customers are more aware than ever to protect themselves financially so they won’t lose out if they can’t attend an event.

Will ticket sales continue to rise?

As more events get added to 2021 programmes, it’s likely ticket sales will continue to boom. The industry faces a myriad of anxieties and troubles ahead – from staffing issues and implementing safety measures right through to financial strain caused by the pandemic. It would be naïve and insensitive to simply assume that the industry is out of the woods now ticket sales are slowly starting to gear up.

As an industry we have a long way to go before “the new normal” is a viable normal for us. However, in times like these, it’s important we all stay positive and remember that we will recover from this economic downturn. People will enjoy live entertainment once more, we’re sure of it.


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