Entertainment Spending in Boston
No data currently exists to identify the entertainment spending of different demographics of the Boston area. However, it is possible to determine what Boston entertainment tickets cost, and what some venues are doing to attract demographic segments that the venues currently lack. Here are some findings that may help to describe the current status of the Boston entertainment market, including Boston demographics, selected costs of museums and other attractions, and efforts of entertainment venues to attract particular demographics.
Most Recent Demographic Profile of Boston's ethnic groups
- According to Nerdwallet, Boston's current population is 47% white, 17.5% Latino, 24.4% black, 8.9% Asian, 2.2% other.
- According to Nerdwallet, 52.1% of Boston's population are women, and 47.9% are men.
- The median age is 30.8 years.
- The median salary in Boston, MA is $51,739.
- In 2015-2016, the most recent figures available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the annual entertainment expense in Boston was 5.1% of a consumer unit's average expenses, which were $68,119.
- Over the past decade, from 2007 to 2017, visitors from China to Boston increased by over 870%. Between 2013 and 2017, their numbers grew by nearly 200%.
Snapshot of Entertainment Costs
- According to information collected from 175 people in 2019, in Boston a basic dinner out for two in neighborhood pub cost an average of $55. Two tickets to the movies cost $27.
- Two tickets to the theater (the best available seats) cost $282. Dinner for two at an Italian restaurant including appetizers, main course, wine and dessert cost $107.
- A person could buy one cocktail drink in a downtown Boston club for $14. One beer in neighborhood pub (500ml or 1pt.) was $6.
- "The Leisure, Hospitality, and Tourism (LHT) industry is large, stable, and growing. It is the third-largest industry in the Commonwealth," according to The Boston Foundation.
Selected Museum Fees and Demographics in Boston
- Adults pay $25 per ticket for entrance to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, and $27 at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.
- In 2015, according to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, 67 percent of its visitors were female, 75 percent were 45 or older, and 79 percent identified as white.
- Boston's Museum of Science (MOS) attracted 1,381,490 visitors in 2017, down 1.2% from 2016. A ticket cost $28 in 2016. Today, it's $37 for adults and $33 for children 3–11.
Selected Other Entertainment Costs in Boston
- Subscriptions to the Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO) for from 2 to 25 concerts start at $165 and extend to $1,700 or more.
- The BSO is trying to attract younger audiences. In 2016, nearly 30 percent of BSO attendees were under age 40, indicating that the orchestra was successful in marketing itself to younger people. The symphony’s growth in youthful attendance was a result of some “aggressive pricing strategies”, including college cards and the ‘20under40’ program which offers $20 seats on a first-come, first-served basis, according to the symphony's managing director.
- The Huntington Theatre Company was successful in 2016 "with 35 Below, a membership program that offers $30 tickets to any show, access to mix-and-mingle events after selected performances and exclusive invitations to other events. In its first year, the company sold seats to 7,600 patrons, or 8.8 percent of the 2010–'11 season audience." By April 2016, the company had sold 15,300 tickets to people under 35.
- According to the Greater Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau, in 2017, travelers from overseas to Boston spent an average of $261 per night in hotels.
- New England Aquarium's adult ticket price was $27.95 in 2017, while Paul Revere House in Boston charges the lowest adult admission fee of $5.
- Live theatre ticket prices currently in Boston include "Murder on the Orient Express", starting at $49; "A Christmas Carol", starting at $60; "We all Fall Down", starting at $75; Boston Pops, starting at $75; Celtic Sojourn, starting at $75; Martha and the Vandellas, $80.
We were unable to provide an answer to the request for information about spending on entertainment by different demographics in Boston. We searched Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Expenditure reports, but they do not break out entertainment spending by demography. Next, we read reports from the Greater Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Boston University Archives on hospitality expenditures. Third, we performed searches using "Leisure, Hospitality, and Tourism" as well as "Boston Entertainment Expenditure Statistics" and related keywords. We checked Travel and Leisure's website, Travel and Tourism statistics, the Boston Office of Tourism, Sports, and Entertainment, Massachusetts vacation statistics by county, international tourism spending in Boston, and the websites of individual venues including the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Museum of Fine Arts, and many others. In none of these sources did we find any study of spending habits of demographic segments — not even women vs. men.