Feedback from the performing arts sector in early 2013 suggested that ticket sales sector-wide had been in decline since at least November 2012.  Arts Victoria needed to better understand what was behind this trend, the expected lifecycle of it, and what ways the trend could be stemmed.

Arts Victoria commissioned Quantum Market Research to undertake the project that looked to:

  • Quantify changes to ticket revenues since November 2012.
  • Understand awareness of arts and culture offerings in general.
  • Understand the preferences for performing arts events among regular and occasional ticket buyers.
  • Determine the mix on offer – is there an oversupply in product, or an undersupply of preferred events?
  • Quantify attitudes towards consumer priorities around discretionary spending and how they spend their leisure time.
  • Understand the shifts in consumer preferences when it comes to paid leisure activities.
  • Quantify price sensitivity within the sector.

The research included a quantitative survey of over 1,500 people who have attended arts events in the last 3 years, and qualitative in-depth interviews with arts organisations and audience members.


Overall the research identified some key factors which have impacted upon attendance of performing arts in Victoria:

  1. Regular attendees are going to fewer performing arts events than they were five years ago—mainly due to a lack of appealing performances.
  2. Those who are occasional attendees were more likely to be feeling pressure both financially, and when it comes to their time—making it harder to justify spending money on performing arts events.
  3. The research also identified an impression that there are a larger number of performing arts events to select from in Melbourne—which is spreading the attendee base more thinly.
  4. Occasional attendees feel less passionate about the performing arts compared to regular attendees, they are also less knowledgeable—this means that performing arts are less of a priority to this audience. The implication of this is that attending performing arts events are a nice to have, rather than an essential—which when combined with greater time and monetary pressures makes it harder for them to justify the cost of attending.
  5. Regular attendees are more likely to be older and more affluent. This makes it easier for them to attend more performing arts events as they have both more time and money. However, there is a need to 'future proof' the industry to ensure that the next generation of regular attendees is brought on board rather than relying on one that is ageing.


Published: 24 October 2013
Prepared by: Quantum Market Research