Society and Culture

How Much Do Americans Spend On Entertainment?

How Much Do Americans Spend On Entertainment?

The entertainment industry is a vital part of the American economy. But, after the financial crisis of 2008, it’s fair to say it took a significant hit. With everyone tightening purse strings, entertainment spending went down by some distance.

However, the entertainment industry has started to thrive once again. In fact, it shot up by 58% per household between 1995 and 2012. There are several reasons why, which we are going to go into right now.

First of all, there has been a significant rise in location-based entertainment. People are flocking to theme parks, zoos, and the movie theater is still a big pull.

There are also a lot more different types of events occurring, too, to get people out of their homes. The live outdoor theaters are going through a significant renaissance, for example. And, attendance at second-tier sports such as soccer is also increasing.

But the biggest development in recent years – certainly since 1995 – has been the rise of at-home entertainment. We now have a fully-functional Internet, of course, and, crucially, fast broadband in our homes. It means streaming movies and TV shows is becoming second nature, rather than something a tech obsessed household will do. There are streaming services for music, too – including the subscription models of Spotify.

Use of computers is also up – in the home and at work. A household without a laptop, PC or tablet is a rare thing indeed, these days. And, of course, many of us have smartphones, which are, in essence, handheld computers.


The big question is, of course, how much does each household spend on entertainment? Recent figures from last year reveal some interesting results. According to CNN money, American households spent $6.8 billion on music, and $10.7 billion on going to the movie theater. Live sport was a big pull, too, with an enormous $17.8 billion spent on live events. Books meanwhile were responsible for $14.6 billion of spending.

The most interesting thing about these figures is that spending on lottery tickets is by far the biggest number. In fact, Americans spent $70.15 billion on tickets – dwarfing everything else put together. It’s no surprise. A quick look at Play Huge Lottos reveals jackpot prizes of tens of millions of dollars every week. Given that lotteries are legal in only 43 states, that is quite some total. In fact, it runs in at $300 of spending every year for each adult in those states.

The sad thing is that it is the poorest families that are responsible for over half of that money. And, the poorer the area, the more likely that households will spend more on a punt on the lottery every week – or more.

It is interesting that should be one of these households win, they are likely to spend much of that money on the same things they are missing out on right now. In total, the leisure and entertainment industries are worth $365-5 billion to the economy. And that will increase – at least until the next financial crisis rears its head.

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