The Belgian concert audience explained

In recent months AB has collaborated intensively with the GfK market research company in carrying out an audience survey, and not just among the AB audience but the wider population of Belgian concertgoers.   

GfK is very pleased that Ancienne Belgique has taken the initiative to obtain a detailed picture of its specific sector and (potential) visitors with both qualitative and quantitative in-depth research. In this way we have acquired knowledge that is relevant to the music and entertainment sector, also outside AB.” – Wim Mathues (GfK, Marketing Director Southern Europe)

Some of the things we have learned: 

  • 49% of all Belgians have been to a concert hall in the last two years
  • The top three most visited venues are the Antwerps Sportpaleis, Forest National and AB
  • On average, €168 is spent per year on concerts in AB, while this figure is €134 amongst non-AB visitors
  • 30% of AB visitors would welcome a ban on filming with smartphones
  •  …

We are very happy to confirm that a very diverse audience comes through the door at AB. We're pleased to note that we are welcoming more French speakers and women than five years ago, and that we are able to appeal to all age categories. The AB visitor also seems to use public transport more, which is very pleasing to us as an eco-dynamic organisation, although there is room for improvement. We will start using the results of the survey to ensure that AB remains the concert venue for all in the future.” - Kevin McMullan (AB, marketing & communications manager)


The audience survey focused primarily on the general profile of the Belgian concertgoer and a comparison of their subdivision into age categories, gender, region, social classes etc. with the overall segmentation within the Belgian population. 

The results show that the concertgoer reflects the profile of the Belgian population between 16 and 90 years of age reasonably well. There are slightly more concertgoers in the higher social classes and the lower age categories, although the 21% share of over 60s may come as something of a surprise. 9% of concertgoers are hardcore fans who attend a concert every month, followed by 37% who attend a concert several times in a year. 

The AB audience reflects most of these statistics. Males are slightly better represented (52% of AB visitors) and 48% of the visitors are among the two highest social classes, more than the average concert-going public. AB also reaches significantly more 19 to 30-year-olds living at home (18%) and adults in the 31-42 age category without children (14%). The French-speaking public also came to AB in large numbers. Whereas five years ago they made up 40% of visitors, that number has now risen to 46%. 


Of the Belgian population, just under half (49%) went to a concert venue in the last two years.  Ancienne Belgique is in third place (19% of those who visited a concert venue). The top three are led by the Antwerps Sportpaleis (38%), followed by Forest National (29%). The ranking:

1.    Antwerps Sportpaleis: 38%
2.    Forest National: 29%
3.    AB: 19%
4.    Lotto Arena: 18%
5.    Palais 12: 13%
6.    Ethias Arena: 10%
7.    Cirque Royal: 8%
8.    Capitole: 7%
9.    BOZAR: 7%
10.    Cultural centres: 7%
11.    Le Forum: 6%
12.    Vooruit: 5%
13.    Botanique: 5%
14.    Het Depot: 4%
15.    Foreign venues: 4%

The Antwerps Sportpaleis is particularly popular among those who attend a concert once or a few times a year. Forest National and AB are more popular among the more frequent concertgoers who go to concerts up to once a month.

The AB visitor is a very keen concertgoer, clearly more than the average concertgoer. No fewer than 14% go to a concert monthly and 54% (!) do so multiple times a year. The largest overlap is with visitors to the Antwerps Sportpaleis and Forest National. Respectively 42% and 41% of AB visitors also visited these venues in the last two years. 
Concert venues that were also visited by AB visitors in the last two years:

1.    Antwerps Sportpaleis: 42%
2.    Forest National: 41%
3.    Lotto Arena: 25%
4.    Palais 12: 21%
5.    Cirque Royal: 17% 
6.    Botanique: 15%
7.    BOZAR: 13%
8.    Het Depot: 12%
9.    Trix: 12%


Among the top three most visited venues, AB scores the best in train use among visitors. There are also fewer people travelling by car to AB than to Forest National or the Antwerps Sportpaleis. Ten years ago, 71% came to AB by car; that fell to 60% five years ago, and is now at 50%. The other 50% therefore travel mostly by public transport. A very good result, although AB hopes to continue to encourage people to use greener forms of transport. 

The AB visitor also spends more on concerts than those who do not visit AB. On average, €168 is spent annually on concerts in AB, while among those who do not go to AB that figure is €134. 


The survey also gauged the weekly use of streaming apps and radio stations listened to and the daily social media use of the concertgoers. In the first category, YouTube (36% use this weekly) and Spotify (23%) unsurprisingly score the highest. The Flemish and French-language public radio stations dominate the ranking of broadcasters listened to by the most fervent concertgoers weekly. Studio Brussel leads with 24%, followed by Radio 1 (22%), Pure FM (17%) and Nostalgie (16%). It is also no surprise that this category of visitor is highly active on social media:

However, when asked whether a ban on filming with smartphones would be a good idea, 30% of AB visitors thought it a very good idea and only 19% were completely opposed to the idea. 


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