How to boost your merch sales for the next festival season


Photo by Eric Ward on Unsplash

Festivals are a big deal. According to a recent study by atVenue, it is estimated that a whopping 32 million people will have attended at least one festival in 2017 alone. Additionally, festival costs are increasing along with the price for hiring headliners, venues, food and drink facilities and other expenses. So with festivals attendees and costs going up, how can event professionals make some of that money back? One way is by pushing merchandise sales. Here are a few things you need to know to make the most of your merch sales…

How much are festival fans spending?

atVenue revealed that music festival goers spend an average of $13.80 (£10.60) on festival goodies per person. However, the average spend per transaction is higher, with attendees splashing out $50 (£38.40). In total, festivals take away a gross average of $421,000 (£323,000) in merch sales. With attendees willing to spend on festival goods, it’s clear that merchandise sales aren’t to be ignored.

What are festival fans spending it on?

You might be surprised to find that attendees are more likely to spend on festival branded products than headliner goods. atVenue found that festival branded merch constituted an average of 61% in total merch sales, while headliner’s goods comprised just 21%. So you can probably bank on your festival’s T-Shirts, tote bags, wristbands and other goodies doing better than your headliner’s branded products.

Which festival genre sells the most merch?

If you are planning an alternative music festival, you’re in luck. Alternative music festivals cash in with the highest total gross merch sales of $466,000 (£358,000). This is thanks to ‘alternative’ festivals hosting a lineup full of major label artists from a diverse range of genres.  Rock or metal concerts came in second, averaging at $313,000 (£240,000), while country festivals were a close third with a total of $278,000 (£214,000) in sales.

EDM, Reggae and Indie festivals brought in significantly less in merch sales. EDM festivals cashed in at $193,000 (£148,000) – the best of the three, meanwhile Reggae festivals made a total of $104,000 (£80,000), while Indie festivals earned the least, averaging at $103,000 (£79,000). This is due to Indie festivals primarily featuring ‘independent’, lesser known artists, and opting for smaller crowds. So when predicting your merch sales revenue, consider the range of music genres available at your festival, and the size of audiences it will attract as key factors.

What are the merch trends per genre?

The study also provided insight into what kind of merchandise is purchased depending on festival genre. Rock festival fans are more likely to buy artist branded merch, with only 29% being spent on festival branded goods. Meanwhile, EDM and Indie fans are the opposite – opting to spend less on artist branded products and more on festival branded merch. Alternative, Country and Reggae bands were the same, with two thirds of them willing to spend on festival products instead of artist goodies.

So next time you are planning a festival, seize the opportunity to make the most of your merchandise sales by considering how much your audience are willing to spend on goods. Think about ordering your merchandise based on your festival’s genre, its audience and its average audience number. Consider widening the range of genres available at your festival too, as this will attract a more diverse crowd which may convert into higher merch sales. Remember; festival goers aren’t afraid to spend some extra cash on goodies, it’s all a matter of you knowing what they’re willing to buy.

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