Spektrix Insights Report 2019

The Spektrix Insights Report looks at the ticketing and purchase data of up to 343 arts organisations using the Spektrix platform (across the UK, Ireland, US, and Canada). You can download and read the full report on the Spektrix website, but here are some of the most interesting findings:

Understanding Audience Loyalty

It's always tricky getting the balance right between encouraging return visits, and attracting brand new audience members. Here's how it panned out for Spektrix customers:

  • 26% of customers from 2016 returned in 2018, 31% returned in 2017.
  • On average, 56% of customers in 2018 were first-timers.
  • 24% of customers were frequent bookers, attending more than once in 2018.
  • In contrast, organisations in the highest 10% retained 45% of their customers from 2016.

In our own research on Northern Irish venues, we saw a healthier balance between return and first-time visits. 47% of ticket-buyers at Belfast venues had been before and 53% of ticket-buyers at regional venues had been before - compared to 31% of Spektrix customers returning overall.

So, Northern Ireland venues are doing well, but still not reaching their full potential for encouraging customer loyalty.

Customers want to book wheelchair seating online - but can't

  • Only 15% of United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland organisations had one or more online bookings which included a wheelchair hold last year.
  • On average, in the United Kingdom and Republic Ireland, 4% of bookings including wheelchair access needs occurred online – nearly 5x lower than in the United States and Canada where equal access to online booking is mandated by law.

Online booking options for disabled audiences in Northern Ireland are few and far between. Initiatives such as the Hynt card, and venues creating their own online booking solutions are happening - but more needs to be done.

Customers are giving more donations online

  • Less than 2% of phone or in-person transactions include donations, 13% of online transactions do.
  • Donations made by phone or in person are nearly double the value of online donations.
  • Training box office staff on asking for donations has led to up to 5x increases in phone or in-person donation rates.

Although people are more likely to donate online at present, they are typically giving higher value donations in-person or on the phone. A focus on encouraging phone or in-venue giving has the potential to increase both the number and value of public donations.

Effective Emails

On average, targeted segmentation roughly doubles email marketing engagement. Microtargeting based on recent customer behaviour has shown to increase engagement by 20x in some cases.

  • 91% of organisations segment at least some emails.
  • Open rates on segmented emails outperform unsegmented emails by 56%.
  • Click rates on segmented emails outperform unsegmented emails by over 100%.
  • The highest 10% of organisations have average segmented open rates of 63% and click-throughs of 16%.

The moral of the story - if you're not segmenting emails, you need to start. (Get in touch with our comms exec Colette if you'd like some help or advice with creating a segmentation strategy)

Mobile is the Future

E-commerce continues to increase, now representing 19% of all retail sales in GB. The arts sector is ahead of the curve - with 60% of transactions occurring online.

  • 60% of transactions were online in 2018, up from 53% in 2016 and 43% in 2014.
  • This average rises to 82% for organisations doing particularly well in this area. However, transactions made by phone or in person are on average 40% higher in value than those made online.

Unsurprisingly, mobile usage is steadily increasing too - but mobile lags behind in conversion rates.

  • Almost half (46%) of users are on mobile devices, while only 38% of visits are on personal computers.
  • When looking at the average rate of customers converting from a visit to a confirmed transaction, personal computers top the list at 28%; mobile conversion rates are only 16%.

Ticket Sales Over Time

  • On average, ticket prices are lower the closer you get to the performance.
  • This is due to a combination of last-minute discounting and/or higher priced seats selling out earlier.

Last-minute discounting is a dangerous strategy for any arts organisation, as it can train your customers to always wait till the last-minute to get a better deal. Last-minute discounts can also inadvertently punish your most loyal customers who book early (not great for encouraging those valuable return customers).

  • Bookings are made, on average, 50 days in advance of the performance.

In our work with venues here in NI, we often see people underestimating how early customers like to book. Have a look at your own stats, and see if a longer sales and marketing lead-in time could match your customers' early-bird behaviour and boost sales.

Secondary Spend

  • 43% of organisations make supplementary items available to customers.
  • On average, organisations achieve a 2.3% upsell rate on the phone or in person, and 4.1% upsell rate online.
  • Successful transactions with supplementary items see basket values increase by 35% on average.

It's not always possible, but if you can give customers the option of adding some 'extras' during the booking process you can improve your bottom line. This can also sometimes improve customer experience - think of the busy parent who knows that the ice creams are ordered and paid for before the family hits their annual Christmas panto.


If you'd like some support understanding your own ticketing data, you can book a free one-to-one Audience Appointment to help you understand your own audiences.

Insights from the ticketing data of up to 343 cultural organisations across the UK, Ireland, USA, and Canada.

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