Citing sources from the past two years (the most recent, the better) please identify the key themes (backed up by statistics and survey findings wherever possible) about how people’s attitudes and behavior toward events, in-person gatherings, human connection is changing from what it's been in previous generations.
Technology has made face-to-face communication and in-person gatherings less necessary, but studies suggest that many generations still find this valuable. Baby Boomers appear to have maintained a particularly positive attitude towards live events and human connection. Millennials still recognize the importance of these things, although studies suggest they are likely to find it uncomfortable.
Attitudes towards attending events/in-person gatherings
Attitudes towards attending live events appear to remain positive. One third of sporting event attendees expect to attend more sporting events in the next 12 months, while a recent Eventbrite study found that Baby Boomers are spending more money than ever on events.
Of those who attended an event in the last year, 44% of Boomers said they are going to more now than compared to 10 years ago. Some 54% of Boomer parents said the emptying of the nest gave them more time to go to live events. They go to more dating events than any other type of activity (7.7 per year on average). Their second choice of activity is social events (5.2 per year on average). This suggests Boomers are united by their need for connection.
Some 80% of Millennials and 72% of Gen X agree that attending live events makes them feel more connected to other people, the community, and the world.
Attitudes towards human connections
Around a quarter of people polled by Attentiv said they now socialize more online than in person. Almost a third of people say they’d rather text their friends than talk to them, while a whopping 51% of teens would rather communicate digitally than in person. Some 99% of Americans now have cell phones, spending 26 minutes per day texting and six minutes on calls.
Generation Y has been described as the first generation of ‘digital natives’ who have grown up with highly interactive digital communication tools. Members of this generation often spend hours communicating online via social media and instant messaging platforms. Some 65% of Millennials say they don’t feel confident in face-to-face interactions, and 30% have rejected the opportunity to attend a social event because they felt it would be awkward. Nevertheless, over half of Millennials questioned in a recent survey said they still prefer to communicate with friends and family in person, citing chemistry as an important characteristic of a quality conversation. Baby Boomers are also said to still prefer face-to-face communication.
Impact of experience economy
Since 1987, the share of consumer spending on live experiences and events relative to total U.S. consumer spending has increased by 70%.
This ‘experience economy’ looks set to rocket further, fueled by Millennials — the largest generation by population — coming into their years of prime earning potential. An Eventbrite survey reveals that 78% of Millennials would choose to spend money on a desirable experience over buying a desirable item. Some 55% of Millennials polled said they’re spending more on live experiences than ever before.
The sharing economy has been cited as a key reason why people are able to spend less money on ‘things’ and more on ‘experiences’. Services such as Netflix, AirBnb, Zipcar etc mean there is less need to purchase big-ticket items.
Despite the advances in technology, there are plenty of signs that attitudes towards live events and face-to-face communication remain positive among all generations of Americans. This is reflected in the growth of the ‘experience economy’ and predictions of future spending increases in this market.