Moviegoers wait to buy tickets from kiosks at a cinema in downtown Seoul. (Yonhap)
The number of people visiting cinemas in June nearly reached pre-pandemic levels, about 94 percent of figures seen in January 2019, according to a study released Monday.
The number of moviegoers in the first half of this year surged 178 percent compared to the same period last year, according to a Lotte Members and Shinhan Card big data study conducted by aggregating data from all Lotte Cinema locations nationwide.
Young adults in their 20s made up the largest share of all moviegoers at 27.3 percent, with the findings showing a shift in primary customer demographic since 2019.
Before the pandemic, women in their 40s frequented cinemas the most, according to 2019 data. However, in the first six months of this year, men in their 20s were the most active moviegoers.
The number of male moviegoers increased a whopping 164.8 percent compared to 2019, while the growth for women was lower at 55.8 percent.
When analyzing based on age groups, teenagers showed the highest increase at 160 percent compared to last year.
As social distancing regulations were lifted and people were allowed to drink and eat at theaters, people using concession stands from January to June increased by 317.2 percent when compared to the corresponding period in 2019.
Virus-wary patrons opted to rent out theaters with private, family and VIP screenings, with the usage of such premium movie facilities increasing by 8.5 percent compared to 2019. Normal screens saw a 14.2 percent decrease in use.
“I enjoy cinemas because you can watch newly released movies whose launch dates had been postponed due to the pandemic,” Jeong Seung-won, a 23-year-old student who frequents movie theaters at least once a week, told The Korea Herald.
“I think younger people visit theaters more often because they are less vulnerable to COVID-19.”