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What can Coachella tell us about the US economy?

Coachella holds a special place in the US cultural and economic landscape. Every year, around 500,000 people flee to the Colorado desert to watch the biggest music acts in the world.

Coachella holds a special place in the US cultural and economic landscape. Every year, around 500,000 people flee to the Colorado desert to watch the biggest music acts in the world.

But our latest research suggests Americans are still holding on tight to their wallets, rather than spending on going out to live events, and Coachella may not be immune from this. The festival was reported to have experienced unusually low sales this year, with tickets still being available four days after initial release for the first time in a decade.

Our recent poll of the US public presents a concern that the dip may stem from a broader concern about how inflation has affected the financial decision making of millions.

Our research, conducted last month, suggested that one half (48%) of Americans believe the $499 admission at Coachella is not good value, and two thirds (67%) say live event prices in general are too high. The value concerns extended to VIP packages as well, with one half (48%) of respondents saying they are not at all/slightly worth it.

More broadly, our research reflects an overall decline in live event attendance with one third (33%) of respondents revealing they go to less live events now than they did one year ago. This appears to be disproportionately impacting younger people, with 18-34 year-olds rating price (66%) as more important than the artists performing (59%) when deciding whether to attend an event.

The decline comes as inflation seems to remain a present concern for many Americans. Over four in ten (45%) Americans say they’ve spent less on non-essential items like eating out and holidays in the last six months, with the same proportion (44%) saying they’ve spent more on essential items like utilities and health care. One half (51%) of Americans also expect the economy to get worse in 2024, rising to six of ten (57%) 18-24 year-olds.

Music festivals, like many live events, are impacted by the state of the wider economy. If consumers feel like they have less disposable income, that can hurt any event – including one of the most successful music festivals in the world.

What can we do to help brands navigate the economic headwinds to create experiences consumers will maintain a passionate interest in? Get in contact today!

 

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