Zero-sum game: a situation in which a gain for one side entails a corresponding loss for the other side
That's exactly the situation with our leisure time. It is a fixed amount, so if one activity gains more of our time, another activity gets less.
The amount of leisure time has basically remained constant over the past few decades, only moving up or down a few minutes each year. In 2015, the average American age 15+ had an average of 5 hours, 13 minutes of leisure time a day. Television accounts for more than half the time. Visits to arts and entertainment venues, which includes zoos, museums, live performances, theme parks and the many types of family entertainment centers only captures 1.5% of that leisure time, or 5 minutes a day, 35 minutes a week or 2.5 hours a month.
Since most visits to arts and entertainment venues have a length-of-stay in the 2.5 hours range (theme parks are of course are longer), that means the average American only visits one venue a month.
The long-term trend of how leisure time is being spent is not good news for the small share of leisure time that is used for visits to location-based entertainment and leisure venues. The average amount of time America's spent at any arts and entertainment venues has decreased by over one-quarter (-27%) since 2004 when it was 46 minutes a week. Last year it was only 35 minutes per week. This downward trend is consistent with every data source and survey our company has analyzed that deals with spending, participation and time spent at arts and entertainment venues. In terms of the size of the slice of leisure time, it's on the decrease.
But there is a silver lining. The segment of adults age 25+ who have the most discretionary income and are the largest spenders for attending arts and entertainment attractions spend more of their leisure time there; 37% more than average.
Adults with a Bachelor's or higher college degree spend an average of 3 hours and 20 minutes a month attending these venues. What's most surprising is they are the adults with the least total leisure time; 42 fewer minutes per day. Yet they devote a larger share than average - 2.5% of all their leisure time to attending arts and entertainment venues. Using a 2.5-hour length-of-stay means these higher socioeconomic adults on average will visit 16 arts and entertainment venues a year, one-third more than average.
That's still not a lot of time considering all the arts and entertainment options that they can visit, but at least the pie is larger.
Today's challenge is to offer a location-based leisure venue that will win out over all the other options of where people can spend their leisure time, including just being Generation Homebody with all its screen-based entertainment and social options. For higher socioeconomic consumers, that has become a high bar. But that's today's big challenge if you want to win.