What do we know about early adopters? A producer recently asked that question prompting me to dig in and perform the usual demographic research.
First question is: who or what is an early adopter? We define a Broadway early adopter as someone who has made a purchase of a show up to opening. Now early adopters are not early adopters for all purchases; someone can be an early adopter for one show and buy in year two for another (just like a premium buyer is not always a premium buyer, just for the shows when they need or want to sit in a premium seat - see our blog post concerning premium buyers). For the purposes of this discussion, we will use those who have two or more early adopter purchases, play or musical, in the last two years. How many people is that? 76,000. Not very many when you consider the size of the average direct mail campaign for a show that is launching and how many people are needed to fill the theatres for every new show in previews.
There is some information about early adopters with two or more early adopter purchases in the last two years many people will find surprising:
- 33% are from out of town (not the suburbs but outside the metropolitan area!). In fact more are from out of town than from the suburbs (30%).
- 63% of the out of town early adopters are from outside the northeast corridor.
- Income. They are not all high income. The second highest group by percentage is $50,000 to $74,999, while the third highest is $75,000 to $99,000. Happily for producers, the highest is $175,000 - $199,000, and the overall average is $160,000. Averages can be deceiving: if Warren Buffett walks into a college bar, the average income goes up but it does not mean everyone in the bar has the spending power of the average.
- Household composition. The single largest group is households with two men, 27%; second was households with one woman (17%) and third was households with one man (14%). I have lost track of the number of times I have heard in a meeting there was surprisingly strength in early sales from buyers who were men. Now we know who and why.
- Age. No surprise. 55-64 and 65-74 are the two most prevalent age groups. A distant third were those who are 45-54. The average age is 60.
In brief they are mostly older, wealthier, higher educated, and they live all over the US. The challenge is 76,000 people is not enough to fill every theatre for every new show.
The above are the highlights that may surprise some people. For those who want more information and need more that is work related to read, here are some other tidbits.
63% of the out of town buyers are not nearby but are from outside the northeast corridor; they represent one fifth (21%) of all buyers.
- There is a strong subset, 3%, that are from the Philadelphia metropolitan area; overall 27% of early adopters in the NE corridor are in the Philadelphia metropolitan area.
What do they do? The highest percentages are professional and executives, but it is middle management and teachers that over index. This ties in with the income data.
84% do not have children in the household.
What is most interesting is women slightly under index as compared to Broadway buyers and men over index. Women are still the majority (56%) of two year two or more early adopters but less than in other categories of buyers, which are 57-59%.
Each datapoint has different elements that are used so we should not compare gender data with household data. The two separate datapoints do suggest there is a significant group of men who are theatregoers, especially as early adopters.
Early adopters count. There are more people who have an early adopter purchase in their history than the 76,000 who have two or more in the last two years. There are actually 320,000 who have at least one early adopter purchase in the last two years; advertising does work sometimes. Of those 320,000, there are 166,000 with an early adopter play purchase in the last two years, 116,000 with a musical early adopter purchase and 38,000 with both a play and a musical early adopter purchase. These purchases are over and above any other purchases in their history. We depend on early adopters and it is good to know not everyone waits for reviews.
For those who like to dive into demographics, the category group (composed of individual categories) with the highest percentage is the Power Elite Mosaic group. Diving in further, to the Mosaic Category level, the single largest group (31%) is Jet Set Urbanites: affluent singles and couples living high rise fashionable lives, city-style. The next highest group is 19% (American Royalty). For those who choose to dive in, there are a number of interesting demographic datapoints that might help with potential targeting for new shows until a show learns who their audience actually is.