Flexibility, Friends, and (More) Fun: Inaugural Ticketing Report Explores ‘State of Play’ for Live Entertainment
The dog days of the pandemic are old news, concerts and touring are on the rebound.
As the mercury rises, a new live space has emerged with a fresh pack of problems.
Today’s punter wants more flexibility, guaranteed fun, and they want to know their friends are on the wings.
Uncertainty is dogging the ticketing space.
It’s all unpacked in a new report, All Options Open — Ticketing State of Play 2022, presented this week by Bolster Group, the entertainment and culture marketing agency, and Tixel, the fan-to-fan resale marketplace.
Its authors found more than seven in ten punters say they’ve changed their ticket purchase behaviour during the health crisis, while cancellations and postponements have made half of all punters think good and hard about their ticket purchases. The figure rises significantly (to 70%) for the younger crowd.
Spread across 65 pages, the new report captures the preferences and behaviours of over 1,200 ticket-buyers.
Plan B is at the front of punters’ minds in 2022. Some 84% of ticket buyers are found to be more likely to purchase tickets knowing they can easily resell them later, and 41% of punters will think twice about buying a ticket to an event that doesn’t allow easy resale.
The collaborative report was presented last month at Bigsound, and was produced with input from a panel of industry consultants, which included Casey Katz, marketing director of Untitled Group; Sharlene Harris, national entertainment manager at ALH Group; Seth Clancy, commercial director of Oztix; and Nick O’Byrne, co-owner of Australian artist management company Look Out Kid and former AIR GM.
“The changing ticketing cycle is clearly a pressing issue for a lot of promoters. They all seem to have their own theories too for the change in consumer behaviour post-pandemic, so it’s great to now have the consumer data to help validate or dispel these ideas,” comments Ollie Hall, strategy & solutions manager at Bolster.
With the inaugural report, its producers are keen to “arm marketers with figures and quotes that can affirm or challenge their approaches,” Hall tells TMN.
As behaviours migrate to a “Flexi Economy,” the All Options Open study identifies five “personas” when music fans chase a ticket to the show.
The most common buyer type is the Early Birds (42%), who move fast on pre-sales to save money or to avoid missing their chance. They’re followed by the Group Organiser (22%), the honcho who rallies their friends and typically buys more than one ticket; then Bet Hedgers, Window Watchers and Procrastinators.
It’s challenging and chaotic out there, a jumble of confidence issues, catchup and late purchases.
Timelines have shifted forward for consumers, the report notes, and back for promoters, who are announcing further out from showtime than in the past to try and beat rivals to market.
After crunching the data, the report’s team found that single day and band rooms events should be sold in shorter bursts, while international concerts and annual events have a “little more wiggle room.”
“We could see in our numbers that people’s desire to trade tickets after an onsale had increased post-COVID but for the data to show that nearly 9 out of 10 people were more likely to purchase tickets if they knew they could easily resell them later was huge,” Jason Webb, co-founder at Tixel, tells TMN.
“This tells us that allowing flexibility helps sell more tickets earlier,” he comments, “which I think is something that all of us in the live events business want.”
It’s been a white-knuckle ride for any industry professional who relies on ticket sales to spin a profit. “People are hedging their bets and waiting until mid-sale and last minute,” notes Humanitix product owner and industry consultant on the report.
On the Tixel platform, the report explains, it took an average of 63% longer to sell a ticket in 2022 compared to 2019, prior to the pandemic.
After absorbing the report and its insights, Webb notes, “what we’re sensing from the market is that everyone is hungry for data, case studies and hard stats that help to make sense of the new environment we’re working in.”
By producing the document, its partners hope to shine an “objective light onto some of the biggest challenges we’re facing, offers real consumer insight, and helps us all do our jobs better.”
All Options Open is the followup to Bolster’s inaugural festival report, issued at the start of the year.
“For this latest edition we really wanted to take it one step further,” notes Hall. The “changing event cycle isn’t an isolated or temporary problem,” he continues, “and the more we combine our knowledge the better off we all are.”
Though COVID is still creating ripple effects across the live circuit, contracting the virus at a show isn’t keeping too many punters awake at night. Roughly three in ten concert goers said they were concerned with catching COVID at an event.
Read the report in full here.