Population Survey on the Arts 2005 - 3-fold Increase in Arts Attendance



3-fold Increase in Arts Attendance


More Singaporeans are embracing the arts in their lives, based on findings of the National Arts Council’s (NAC) latest (2005) national population survey.  33% of Singaporeans have attended an arts event in the past year compared to 11% ten years ago. The survey also revealed that students, young adults and working professionals make up the majority of arts-goers.


Mr Lee Suan Hiang, Chief Executive Officer, NAC, says, “The survey results are encouraging and reinforce the efforts of NAC and the arts community in building demand for the arts.  Not only are more Singaporeans attending arts events, they are also more aware of the importance and benefits of the arts to their lives.  The high representation of the young among arts attendees means that we are successful in growing new audiences. Moving forward, NAC will continue with efforts to widen and deepen demand for the arts.”


The national population survey is commissioned by NAC once every 3 years to track consumer trends and motivations of arts audiences.  The scope of the survey includesattendance, audience profile, types of performances preferred, and attitudes towards arts-related issues.  The latest study was conducted from October to November 2005, through face-to-face interviews with 1,477 Singaporeans and Permanent Residents, aged 15 years and above.


Findings of Study - Highlights

1. Three out of 10 Singaporeans (33%) have attended an arts event* in the past 12 months [27% in 2002, 15% in 1999, 11% in 1996].  This has trebled in a decade since the first 1996 survey, attributable to arts education and outreach efforts.

* includes musicals, pop concerts, classical music, theatre, musical performances, visual arts events/ activities, dance and arts films


2. Audiences attended an average of 3 arts events in the past year, sustained from 2002.

3. The profile of arts audience is demographically skewed towards young people below 35 years old (49%), comprising age groups of 15-19 (14%) and 20-34 (35%).

4. Arts attendees are strongly represented by PMETs (professional, managerial, executive and technical) (43%) and students (18%).

5. The popularity of arts forms varies among different age groups. Teenagers (15-19 years old) prefer music and dance performances while theatre and arts film appeal to young professionals (20-34 years old). Visual arts events attract a more mature audience (50-64 years-old).

6. The key factors cited for attending arts events are to accompany family/friends (37%) and self-motivation (35%). Compared to the main reason of “Relaxation” in the 2002 survey (63%), the shift suggests the deepening impact and importance of arts education efforts to nurture a sustained interest in the arts, as well as the arts as a key form of social activity.  Other reasons are “As a form of relaxation”, “Seeing a specific event or performer”, “Exposure to free events”.

7. 17% of Singaporeans are Core arts lovers and 18% are High Potentials. The remaining 65% of Singaporeans are Potentials (32%) and Challenging (33%).

8. The main reasons for not attending arts events are “Not interested in the arts” (53%)and “Lack of time” (50%), similar to findings from the 2002 study.

9. Cost was not a major barrier to arts attendance.  In 2005, 13% of the respondents who did not attend an arts event cited "too expensive" as a reason, compared to 29% of the respondents in 2002.  The average ticket price paid for the most recent event attended has increased from $55 (in 2002) to $72 (in 2005).



(a) NAC’s efforts in engaging the wider community in the arts are reaping notable results.  Singaporeans are aware of the importance and benefits of the arts and arts attendance has trebled in 10 years. 

(b) Notwithstanding the good progress, there remains a critical role for NAC to play in two areas.  Long-term, broad-based audience development efforts as well as targeted marketing strategies are required to gradually and systematically nurturePotentials to High Potentials and Core.

(c) Secondly, arts benefits both the individual and the community, and can help makeSingapore a world class city to live, work and play.  NAC will continue with efforts to promote and advocate the value of the arts, making the arts an integral part of the lives of Singaporeans.


For more details on the findings of the population survey, please refer to the powerpoint slides