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Live Attendance Outlook

Audience behaviour will continue to evolve as a range of new factors impact the path to recovery, according to data collected in October 2022 from 500 Western Australian past attendees.

  • 74% are ‘ready to attend now’, up from 48% in March ’22, when WA saw high case numbers for the first time
  • 43% are still attending performing arts events less than they used to, pre-pandemic, so full recovery remains a way off
  • 61% are spending $50+ on cultural events, an increase on March ’22 (52%) – unlike other states, where spending has stagnated
  • #1 financial reasons are now equal with the risk of transmission as the top barrier to attendance.

Key trends

  • 52% expect their attendance will increase over the next year, but 43% say it will stay the same
  • 16% say there has been a change in their preferred time, day or location of cultural events
  • 73% will be attracted to fun, uplifting content, while 45% are drawn to challenging things
  • 61% want to try things they haven’t experienced before.

Attendance in Western Australia has recovered from when cases first peaked in March, but non-Covid factors are complicating the picture

  • With regards to COVID-19, Western Australian (WA) audiences are rebuilding their confidence, according to the October 2022 data from 500 WA past attendees. 74% say they are ‘ready to attend now’ – the second highest-rate in the country – up from 48% in March, when WA opened its borders and first faced high case numbers.
  • Many are feeling positive about attending events right now and 8 in 10 (77%) attended a cultural event in the fortnight before data collection. This is one of the highest rates in the country, along with NSW and the ACT.
  • Attendance frequency is slowly returning to pre-pandemic levels. Right now, 57% of WA performing arts attendees are attending as often as they used to (or more) compared to before the pandemic.
  • Spending levels are increasing. The proportion spending over $50 on arts and culture in the past fortnight (61%) has increased from August (52%) and March 2022 (52%), unlike other states where spending is stable – a positive sign, considering rising costs of living.
  • Full recovery will take time. While most WA audiences are feeling confident and optimistic, there’s no doubt the picture has changed over the pandemic – and economic pressures, lifestyle changes, new priorities and the availability of events will continue to impact behaviour in the next year.

1 in 3 WA audience members say there may not be enough events on offer – and there’s demand for new and uplifting content

  • WA audiences are optimistic about future attendance, with 52% saying they expect to attend more often in the next year, and 43% saying their current attendance levels will stay the same.
  • A range of supply and demand factors could limit audience attendance. A third of WA audiences say there’s a lack of events that appeal to them (32%), and they are also some of the most likely nationally to say they’re prioritising other things (26%). Smaller proportions are also lacking the energy to go out (16%) or facing challenges securing tickets (15%).
  • Price sensitivity may increase, as financial reasons are now on par with the virus as a barrier to attendance – affecting 37% of WA audiences (up from 25% in August 2022).
  • Last-minute ticket buying is here to stay, with August 2022 data showing the majority of WA audience members book events within the next seven days (21%) and the next 2-3 weeks (34%).
  • Cultural tourism will take time to recover with local attendance most common among WA audiences (65%). Only 7% of WA audiences are attending events interstate, the smallest proportion in the country.
  • Many WA audiences are seeking new (61%) and uplifting (73%) cultural experiences. There’s interest in boosting morale and making up for lost time, following the challenges of the past few years and limited access to touring works during border closures.

4 in 10 WA audience are participating in the arts online – with virtual opportunities vital for accessibility

  • Online channels continue to play an important role in connecting with WA audiences and improving accessibility.
  • Digital marketing is paramount for live events and most (78%) WA audiences are using online channels, such as eNews (54%) and websites (47%) to find out what’s on.
  • Online participation in cultural activities is relatively stable. 4 in 10 WA audience members (40%) participated in some kind of online arts recently (up slightly from 36% in March 2022 and stable with 40% in November 2021), such as pre-recorded video (19%) and online classes/tutorials (18%). This is consistent with national trends (41% participated online, stable with 42% in March).
  • Spending on digital activities is also stable – and overall, digital consumption patterns appear to be reasonably fixed. One third of online audiences (32%) paid for a digital activity recently, compared to 30% in March. Among those paying, 54% spent over $50.
  • Two-thirds continue to see a role for digital, with 7 in 10 saying that these experiences continue to play a ‘small’ (22%) or ‘significant’ (45%) role in their life – stable with March (69%).
  • Online cultural participation is higher among WA audiences with access needs including audiences experiencing disability (53%), those with someone vulnerable to COVID-19 in their household (44%) or those aged 75+ (43%).
  • WA audiences appreciate the value of digital programs in overcoming barriers to live attendance – a topic that will be explored in detail in an upcoming Fact Sheet and set of case studies.

To view the full report, download the Audience Outlook Monitor. November 2022. Western Australia Snapshot Report

Page reviewed 11 September 2023