Are Consumers Visiting More Historical Sites in 2023?

September 7, 2023

2023 has been full of post-pandemic economic disruptions and significant shifts in consumer foot traffic. Earlier this year, we examined these shifting trends for our Q1 2023 Consumer Trends Report and found foot traffic trends suggesting heightened discretionary spending among consumers, despite high inflation. So, we wondered, has consumer foot traffic gone through any major shifts since Q1 of this year? Furthermore, are consumers still spending more freely than they did at the end of 2022?

A family enjoys hiking at the Grand Canyon

To learn more about current consumer foot traffic trends, we examined foot traffic to various commercial places of interest in our latest Q2 2023 Consumer Trends Report. We found many interesting shifts in consumer foot traffic trends, and one of the most stand-out shifts was observed in the entertainment category. Read on for more.

Foot Traffic to Entertainment Venues

From zoos and aquariums to gambling and bowling, entertainment venues of all types saw declining foot traffic between Q2 2022 and Q2 2023. However, there was one exception in our analysis: historical sites. With a significant 24% increase in foot traffic, this was the only place category that welcomed more visitors year-over-year.

In Q3 2022, most entertainment venues began experiencing significant declines in foot traffic, with upticks in Q1 2023. Tourist attractions maintained a fairly level trend in foot traffic over the last year. Historical sites, which also experienced a spike in Q1 of this year, have been steadily attracting more foot traffic over the last year. Although discretionary spending has picked up, consumers remain value-conscious and may be opting for budget-friendly entertainment options found at historical or heritage sites. This would also explain why stadiums and arenas have lost the most year-over-year foot traffic, with a pronounced 56% decline. Tickets to events held at these venues are usually costly, and attendees often spend extra money on food or merchandise, making for a much more expensive outing than historical sites, which usually charge relatively small entry fees, if any.

So, it makes sense that more consumers are visiting historic places in 2023, but what particular states have been attracting the most consumers to these historical sites?

Where Are People Visiting Historical Sites?

According to our data, more consumers are visiting historical sites in a variety of states across all regions. Maine experienced the biggest increase in foot traffic to historical sites, with a whopping 145% increase year-over-year. Closely following the state of Maine, Nevada experienced a 134% increase in foot traffic to historical sites—another substantial increase. While some states saw decreased visits, the nation’s most populous states, California, Texas, and Florida, all experienced increased foot traffic to their historical locations.

So, why are historical sites experiencing such massive increases in foot traffic?

Historical Sites in 2023 and Beyond

Consumer trends shifted greatly during the pandemic, and as consumers spent more time indoors, pent-up demand for social outings and in-person consumerism grew. After the pandemic peaked, consumers sought out opportunities to reconnect with one another outside of the home, despite being affected by economic challenges like inflation. This was when foot traffic to places like shopping malls made a loud comeback. This trend may still be at play in 2023 as consumers continue to look for wallet-friendly entertainment post-pandemic.

Visits to historical sites were greatly impacted by the pandemic, but now that the pandemic has been declared over, foot traffic to these destinations could continue on an upward trend for the rest of 2023. In fact, historic sites’ revenue is expected to total $1.5 billion this year. So, although the pandemic rudely disrupted this industry in recent years, 2023 may be the year that historical sites make a comeback of their own.

For more of the latest consumer foot traffic trends, download the full Q2 2023 Consumer Trends Report today.

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