NEW YORK – October 25, 2021 – As the country tries to balance continued waves of coronavirus cases and Americans’ eagerness to return to a pre-pandemic lifestyle, a new report finds that more U.S. adults plan to attend at least one live event or attraction in the final quarter of the year (61%) than the first three quarters combined (51%).

However, for those who are not planning to attend, the threat of coronavirus is still much more likely than cost to be the main deterrent, especially among those who are fully vaccinated. Click here for more information:

  • Movies in theaters: 24% had already attended this year, as of the Sept. 29 – Oct. 4 polling dates, and 34% plan to attend before the end of the year
  • Amusement parks/zoos/aquariums: 22% had already attended this year, and 26% plan to attend before the end of the year
  • Fairs/festivals/carnivals: 21% had already attended this year, and 28% plan to attend before the end of the year
  • Live arts events (concerts, plays, etc.): 18% had already attended this year, and 25% plan to attend before the end of the year
  • Professional/college sporting events: 14% had already attended this year, and 17% plan to attend before the end of the year
  • Other public events/attractions: 33% had already attended this year, and 38% plan to attend before the end of the year

Among those who do not plan to attend live events/attractions for the remainder of the year, COVID is substantially more likely than cost to be the main deterrent. Those who are fully vaccinated are much more likely to shy away because of the virus.

Main reasons for not attending in Q4

 Fully VaccinatedUnvaccinatedOverall
Professional/College Sports Event13%38%20%21%16%34%
Movies in Theaters13%53%17%28%15%44%
Amusement Parks, Zoos, Aquariums15%43%21%26%18%38%
Live Arts (e.g.,Concerts, Plays, etc.) 16% 49% 22% 25% 18% 41%
Fairs, Festivals, Carnivals, etc.11%49%18%28%14%43%
Other Public Eventsor Attractions11%54%18%31%14%47%

When looking at who has already attended, or plans to attend, these public events and attractions in 2021, young adults are much more likely than older generations.

 Who’s attended or plans to attend in 2021

 Gen Z (ages 18-24)Millennials (ages 25-40)Gen X (ages 41-56)Baby Boomers (ages 57-75) Overall
Professional/College Sports Event41%33%18%14%23%
Movies in Theaters61%52%36%31%41%
Amusement Parks, Zoos, Aquariums49%49%33%22%35%
Live Arts (e.g., Concerts, Plays, etc.) 46% 42% 27% 23% 32%
Fairs, Festivals, Carnivals, etc.43%46%34%28%36%
Other Public Eventsor Attractions60%57%41%40%47%

While young adults are more likely to attend public events or attractions, they are also more likely to incur debt to do so. Twenty-one percent of millennials who have attended these types of in-person gatherings this year have gone into debt as a result. Meanwhile, 12% of Gen Zers say the same, compared to 8% of Gen Xers and 3% of baby boomers. Overall, more than 1 in 10 (11%) who have attended have gone into debt because of these activities.

“Attendance at live events is picking up, led by young adults, although COVID remains a significant worry especially (and ironically) among the fully vaccinated,” said senior industry analyst Ted Rossman. “Most Americans don’t seem particularly worried about how much these events cost, and few are going into debt to attend. It’s mostly about the health situation at this point.”

Methodology: commissioned YouGov Plc to conduct the survey. All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2,401 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken September 29 – October 4, 2021. The survey was carried out online and meets rigorous quality standards. It employed a non-probability-based sample using both quotas upfront during collection and then a weighting scheme on the back end designed and proven to provide nationally representative results.

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