Decline of the Night Club?

More and more nightclubs are noticing a decline in patronage and many are closing up shop within their first year!


Millennials aren’t going to clubs on a regular basis. The trend for Millenials we discussed in our previous article The Experience Economy is that this demographic is choosing to spend their hard earned money and time on experiences (over big ticket items).

But wait– are’t nightclubs an experience?

Not the experience that they are looking for. This Insider Magazine article highlights the results of a recent survey that only 60% of Millenials attend Night Clubs.  Of that 60%, only 25% attend a Night Club more than once a month! What are the listed reasons for not attending?

“Their responses:

  • Expensive cover charges
  • Overly-priced drinks
  • Long lines
  • Slow bar services
  • Rude staff
  • Being pushed around in crowded atmosphere
  • Poor male to female ratio
  • Better ways to discover new music
  • Inability to have a conversation”(Source: ‘Bid Farewell, Why Millenials Are Abandoning Night Clubs‘. The Insider Magazine.)

The last two reason noted being the most important! Millennials would rather find ways to interact and experience new music/art. Respondents also noted that they no longer need to go to clubs to find potential partners (i.e. dating purposes). Thanks to the ease of accessibility and security of online/app-based dating, Millennials don’t need to rely on regularly attending clubs to find their dream partner across the dance floor.

The article goes on to point out that “the IBIS World Bar Business & Nightclub Business Industry reports that bar and nightclub revenue fell 9.3% in 2009- following The Great Recession. While other businesses are slowly climbing back up from higher unemployment rates and lower consumer spending, the nightclub industry just doesn’t seem to be following suit. The industry is not bouncing back.” (Source: Bid Farewell, Why Millenials Are Abandoning Night Clubs. The Insider Magazine.)

Where is this trendy, youthful demographic spending their free time? Respondents answered consistently with what you might expect from the experience seekers: “Netflix, hiking, biking, traveling, paddle boarding, skiing, kayaking, drinking wine, rooftop bars, playing guitar, reading, movies, concerts, napping, relaxing, reading the news, walking around the city, discovering new restaurants/foods, flywheel, hanging with friends, home improvement projects, happy hours, and beer festivals”
(Source: ‘Bid Farewell, Why Millenials Are Abandoning Night Clubs’. The Insider Magazine.)

Is this industry doomed?  Far from it!

J.C. Diaz from the Nightlife Association remains hopeful that as long as people want a place to hang out, dance, and have fun with friends, the nightclub scene should prosper once again if they attempt to regain nostalgic, or ground-breaking themes. Diaz predicts, “The industry is definitely evolving.  You’re beginning to see people focused on fusion or flavors whether it be cocktails or food. You’re seeing new design elements and advanced LED technology.  You can make your place look like you’re in the middle of the forest or in space.  It’s becoming more of a real life experience when you get companies like Cirque du Soleil partnering up with a club.”
(Source: ‘Bid Farewell, Why Millenials Are Abandoning Night Clubs’. The Insider Magazine.)

Cost saving measures will not be what draws this discerning group back into the nightlife! Clubs-rather- must evolve and focus on a unique guest experience, carefully executed with interactive entertainment element but with a larger focus on the human element. Evolving technologies are great when supported with human interactions but, as we’ve seen from growing industry trends, are not at the forefront of what interests Millennials. Use the emerging popularity of Archery Tag and Escape Rooms Creating as an example: these group based activities are entertaining, thrilling entertaining experiences that encourage (and require) human interaction and teamwork. Adapting nightclubs to encourage human engagement supported by incredible human-based entertainment may prove to be the time-tested solution.