Patterns in Performing Arts Spending in Canada in 2008

49% increase in performing arts spending between 2001 and 2008

This report provides a detailed analysis of Canadians who spend money on live performing arts. In 2008, consumer spending on live performing arts was $1.426 billion, or an average of $108 for each of the 13.2 million households in the country. In 37% of Canadian households, some money was spent on live performing arts in 2008. In households with some spending on live performing arts, the average amount spent was $293. Examined differently, this equals 31 cents out of every $100 in household income spent on live performing arts (in households with some performing arts spending).

49% increase in performing arts spending between 2001 and 2008

After adjusting for inflation, consumer spending on live performing arts increased by 49% between 2001 and 2008. In 2001, for those households with some spending on live performing arts, 25 cents out of every $100 in household income was spent on live performing arts. This figure had increased substantially by 2008 (an average of 31 cents out of every $100 in household income).

Other performing arts spending statistics held steady between 2001 and 2008

In 2001, 36% of Canadian households reported spending any money on live performing arts, a figure that is very similar to the 37% of households reporting any spending in 2008. While many analytical categories were revised between the 2001 and 2008 data years, it is clear that at least the same percentage of households in each income group spent at least some money on live performing arts in 2008 as in 2001.

With an abundance of spending options, many Canadians choose live performing arts

Canadians have many ways in which to spend their disposable income. As a comparator to live performing arts, the report also examines some indicators of spending on three other attendance-related activities: movie theatres, museums, and live sports events. The results of these comparisons show that a substantial proportion of the Canadian public spends a considerable amount of money on live performing arts.

The $1.426 billion spent on live performing arts was slightly higher than spending on movie theatre admissions ($1.216 billion) and more than double the spending on live sports events ($0.645 billion) or admissions to museums and heritage-related activities ($0.519 billion) in 2008. In 2008, 37% of all Canadian households spent any money on live performing arts. In comparison, 55% spent any money on movie theatre admissions, 29% on museum admissions, and 17% on live sports events.

Many lower-income Canadians choose live performing arts

A considerable percentage of lower-income households choose to spend some money on live performing arts. Households with incomes of $25,000 or less are more likely to spend any money on live performing arts (15%) than on museum admissions (12%) and live sports (4%). On the other hand, many more households with incomes of $25,000 or less spent some money on movie theatre admissions in 2008 (29%).

Those lower-income households that did spend money on live performing arts in 2008 spent an average of $166, compared with an average of $124 for those lower-income households that spent money on live sports events, $106 for lower-income households with some spending on movies, and $66 for lower-income households that spent money on museum admissions.

Performing arts marketing insights

The report also shows that households that spend a significant amount of money on live performing arts also have much higher spending on other cultural activities than low or non-spenders. Based on this data, performing arts marketing strategies could target other cultural participants, especially museum goers, art buyers and book readers.

Data in the report also shows that high spenders on the performing arts spend over four times more on live sports events than low or non-spenders on the performing arts. Performing arts marketing could also target sports attendees.

Arts sponsorship possibilities

The report also aims to help performing arts organizations pursue sponsorships, by providing information about the non-cultural spending habits of households that spend significant amounts on live performing arts, including financial services, restaurants, hotels and other travel accommodations, garden supplies, furniture, and more.

For potential sponsors, these statistics mean that high spenders on the performing arts are key customers. Through performing arts organizations, sponsors in these sectors can reach interested buyers of their goods and services.

Factors in performing arts spending

The full report contains much more detail about the variations in performing arts spending between households based on factors such as education, income, age, sex, the presence (or absence) of children in the household, household size, disability, rural and urban households, as well as province.

Read the full report
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