Entertaining Yourself is Deceptively Expensive

Published: February 22, 2017.

Dollars & Details:

Now that we can entertain ourselves endlessly via our smartphones, you might assume that we’re spending less money on other types of (non-digital) entertainment.  Or you might assume that leisure and entertainment activities that aren’t digital now face so much competition from smartphone-based pastimes that prices for traditional leisure activities are dropping.  Very wrong on both counts.

We’ve gone from static and flat (books and media printed on paper, music on CDs and movies rented on DVD at the local Blockbuster) to entertainment based on digital downloads, user-controlled, portable and always-with-you.  Nonetheless, despite this pervasive, portable digital entertainment, we’re spending a rapidly growing fortune on old habits in our quest for leisure time fulfillment and relaxation.  Officially, in the U.S., total spending on “recreation,” in a very broad sense, soared by 72% from 2000 through 2015, reaching a record total of $1.08 trillion!

Trends and Theories:

Prices for internet access, on a total gigabytes available per month basis, have plummeted, at the same time that we download more and more music, video, ebooks, podcasts and other entertaining media.  Nonetheless, expenditures on movie theater admission, sports events and other ways we relax have soared. 

Ranks and Results


Responsive image


Smartphones and the internet now rule the world, in terms of delivering instant entertainment gratification, but old habits are not dying off.


All the information you need about the global Entertainment industry can be found at Plunkett Research, including our Entertainment & Media Industry Research Center Online, and our recently published, completely-updated Plunkett’s Entertainment & Media Industry Almanac, 2017 edition.