Are Americans Ready To Go Back Outside? Understanding In-Person Entertainment Preferences

    Matt Kaplan
    Content Strategist
    6 min read
    Posted on April 29, 2021

    As the Covid-19 vaccine becomes more widely available and as states begin to ease restrictions, are Americans ready to go outside again for entertainment? To find out, we’ve been conducting consumer research since December 2020 through InMobi Pulse, InMobi’s mobile market research solution.  

    According to the latest results from March and April 2021, while some adults in the U.S. are ready to go to the movies or sporting events, others are still hesitant. Here’s what our most recent research uncovered. 

    Top Takeaways 

    • People who are not vaccinated and have no plans to be vaccinated are most likely to be visiting entertainment venues in person. 
    • The vast majority of people have no plans to go to movie theaters, concerts, theme parks or live sporting events in the next year. 
    • Mask requirements, social distancing standards and capacity limits will make Americans feel more comfortable attending in-person events, and adults in the U.S. like to learn about these precautions through a venue website or mobile app, via news sources and through advertising. 

    What Activities Are Americans Doing? Survey Results Revealed 

    Perhaps unsurprisingly, adults in the U.S. are largely avoiding indoor entertainment venues like movie theaters and concerts. Among the 875 people polled that visited movie theatres or attend concerts pre-pandemic, 83% said they are not going to movie theaters or concert venues in person this year, and women were more likely than men to say this was the case for them. 

    However, habits are shifting over time. For example, while 83% of those between 18 and 24 years old said they were not attending concerts this year when asked in December, only 66% of this cohort said the same thing in late March and early April 2021. Similarly, while 81% of those between 45 and 54 years old said they wouldn’t be going to movie theaters over the next 12 months when asked in December, that percentage dropped to 73% in the latest survey. 

    Americans are more likely to seek out outdoor entertainment like going to a theme park or a professional sporting event, but the difference is not large. We found that 80% said they would not be attending a professional sporting event in person, while 78% said they are avoiding theme parks.  

    Who is most likely to be attending events in person? According to our research, people who are not vaccinated and have no plans to be vaccinated are most likely to say they are going to entertainment venues in person now or in the immediate future. On the flip side, the people least likely to be going to any of these places in person right now are those who are not vaccinated but plan to be soon. 

    When Will Americans Be Ready for In-Person Entertainment Again? 

    When will people be venturing outside again? According to our research, 21% said they will be going to theme parks, movie theaters, etc., in the next six months, while 15% said in the next two to three months. But some of this is dependent on other factors, as 17% said they would go to these in-person entertainment options only when a vaccine is widely available. 

    The group that is the most optimistic are those who are not vaccinated and don’t plan to get a vaccine, as 16% of this cohort said they will be going to these places this month. In contrast, just 2% of those who are not currently vaccinated but hope to be soon said they are attending these kinds of events this month. 

    How to Convince People to Attend Events In Person 

    What kinds of precautions will make Americans feel more comfortable attending in-person events such as movies, concerts, sporting events or theme parks? Mask requirements topped the list at 63%, followed by social distancing standards (47%), capacity limits (42%) and enhancing cleaning and sanitation (42%). People between 18 and 24 years old heavily prefer mask requirements (79% said this), while 52% of women said capacity limits would make them feel more comfortable. 

    Overall, half said they would like to learn more about the coronavirus precautions venues are taking for in-person entertainment. However, 40% of those who are not vaccinated and don’t plan to be said they were not interested in learning about these precautions. 

    Among those who said that certain precautions would make you more comfortable attending in-person events, we also wanted to find out how they like to learn about these steps. Over half (52%) said they like to learn about these precautions through a venue website or mobile app, with 71% of those between the ages of 35 and 44 saying this was their preferred method.  

    Other commonly cited ways to learn about these precautions included news sources (45%), advertising (36%) and social media (35%). Among women, 42% said they wanted to learn about precautions through advertising, while only 31% of men said the same thing. 

    Who Is Getting The Vaccine? 

    One thing that became clear in our research is that attitudes toward the vaccine and plans around receiving a dosage impacted whether someone was comfortable going to an entertainment venue in person in the next year. On a positive note, over half of those previously interested in in-person entertainment said they were already partially or fully vaccinated. 

    Overall, entertainment goers between the ages of 45 and 54 were almost twice as likely as others overall in their cohort to say that they are not vaccinated and have no plans to be vaccinated. On the flip side, people between 18 and 34 years old were more likely to say that they are not vaccinated yet but hope to be in the future. 

    Looking to Welcome Guests Back To Your Entertainment Venue Soon? Here’s What You Need to Know 

    For companies that operate entertainment centers, it’s critical to keep a close eye on consumer sentiment before fully reopening. As our research shows, attitudes toward attending in-person events again vary widely and are changing. 

    One thing that is certain is the need to still take precautions. As our data highlights, consumers still want mask mandates, social distancing guidelines, limited capacity and other safeguards implemented before they’re ready to go back to their old habits and routines. Of course, preferences around in-person entertainment vary widely depending on whether someone has the vaccine yet, where they live and other factors.  

    At this stage, education is still crucial. As our data shows, digital platforms like apps combined with outreach efforts like advertising can go a long way towards informing the public about safety measures and helping to show when and how it’s safe to go back to entertainment venues in person. 

    About the Author          

    Matthew Kaplan has over a decade of digital marketing experience, working to support the content goals of the world’s biggest B2B and B2C brands. He is a passionate app user and evangelist, working to support diverse marketing campaigns across devices. 

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