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Bars, Clubs Making Big Post-Recession Comeback, Thanks to Spendy Youngsters

Economists have been watching various industries very closely in this (very slow-mo) bounceback from the low point of the Great Recession, trying to guess which one would pull out ahead.

Thanks to West Hollywood-based online company CitySearch (in collaboration with market-research firm Harris Interactive), we now have an answer, and an awesome one at that:

Proving that a stiff drink may be the cure-all in what are still tough economic times, bars and clubs have been the business sector to rebound most quickly over the year prior. Millennials are leading this trend, with young men in particular the first to say they're patronizing their local watering hole more this year than last.

Almost one-fourth of 1,003 survey responders -- polled just this last August -- said they've been hitting night spots more this year than last. And in the under-35 crowd, that number grew to an entire half of responders:

49% of males in the 18-34 age range are going out to bars more this year, compared with only 6% of men in the 35-54 age group.

And no, this can't be blamed on the young partyboys of WeHo, because the phone survey was conducted all across the U.S.

It does, however, likely have to do with the national trend that younger generations are spending much more freely than their hard-hit parents (also proven by the new survey). This could just be a disastrous symptom of taking out a ton of student loans and vowing to worry about them later, but the difference in consumer confidence by age is stark:

  • Over half (51%) go to the movies at least once a month while only three in ten (30%) of those over 55 can say the same
  • More than one in four (28%) are going to restaurants more this year than last (This number jumps to 43% among 18-24 year olds)
  • A quarter (25%) are visiting personal service businesses more than a year ago
  • 28% are doing more than window shopping, saying they go to retail stores more than the previous year, as compared with 11% of adults 35-54

Either the "me" generation is making way more money (unlikely), or we're spending a bunch of money we don't have (likely). Or we've just resigned ourselves to an early death by apocalypse, and are porn-bunkering all the way to the end.

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@simone_electra

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swilson@laweekly.com

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