Analysing the museum audience: from ‘Facebook families’ to ‘Commuterland culturebuffs’ 7 Dec 2018

The Audience Agency has published its 2018 report on trends in effectively attracting visitors to museums. It is based on a sample of almost 40,000 visitors to 105 museums which ranged from independents to nationals and local authority museums. The report found that:  

  • There are a ‘core four’ types of audience: young creatives aged 16 – 24, families, older learners and cultural tourists. The report further segments these groups depending on whether they are regular or occasional visitors: but most museum visitors are medium or high cultural engagers beyond the museum world.
  • Older audiences are highly represented with 41% of all visitors over 55 (however, we know from other data sets that visiting falls off sharply among the over 75s).
  • Younger, BAME and less culturally engaged audiences are more likely to visit free museums. Paid entrance museums attract the more culturally engaged and those from further away.
  • Although men and women visit about equally across the English population, museum audiences of all kind skew strongly female: 63% vs 39%.
  • 52% of visitors are within a 30 minute drive of the museum, with visitors travelling further when the primary aim is to learn something. Visitors in the North East are the most likely to be local at 93% of total visits.
  • Museums attract more family visitors than other artforms.
  • Almost everyone rates their museum visit as good or very good (98%) but the Net Promoter Score, which tracks how likely a visitor is to recommend their experience to someone else is lower for museums at a score of 66 than the cultural average of 74. The most contemporary-minded audience segments are the least likely to express satisfaction with their visit.
  • Local museums attract the most loyal and regular visitors, with 40% of all local attendees coming multiple times each year. They also attract the most family audiences.
  • The survey also asked for comments about barriers to visits and common factors include the cost of public transport, entrance fees and refreshments, poor communications and marketing, time and ‘rurality’ – scattered and isolated populations.

  Audience Agency