joy of missing out

The Joy of Missing Out: Deciding to Stay In, Again

People aren’t going out as much. They aren’t having as many wild nights on the town or watching as many movies at the cinema. For many Brits, a decent night out has become a decent night in. Our tastes haven’t necessarily changed, but the way in which we enjoy them or consume them has done. As a society, we’re increasingly looking to recreate entertainment experiences from the comfort of our own homes.


Even the holiday industry is concerned with the number of people deciding to stay in rather than booking weekends away. A recent survey by Holiday Cottages shows some surprising trends when it comes to (not) going out including:

  • 67% of people saying they had feigned illness as an excuse not to leave the house
  • 76% agreed to go out knowing they won’t attend
  • 65% stated that they had experienced JOMO (joy of missing out), preferring a quiet night in with Netflix

So, while it might seem shocking that people are prepared to lie in order to get out of a commitment to go out, there is clearly a shift in the behaviour of weekend or night time activities.

The cinema just isn’t as cheap as Netflix

Cinema attendance figures for 2018 actually showed a slight increase on the previous year, but look a little deeper and the numbers of people going out have actually stagnated since 2004. The figures show that people aren’t flocking out to watch a movie like they were thirty or forty years ago.

The reasons for this might obviously be the price. It isn’t cheap to watch a movie these days. The price of a ticket, a drink and maybe an oversized box of popcorn can be upwards of £20 and this doesn’t include the cost of getting there and back either. Compare that to the rise of streaming services like Netflix or Amazon Prime and it is almost the equivalent of a three-month subscription.


Gaming is more comfortable at home…

Remember when the gaming arcades were full to bursting and it took an age to reach the front of the queue for a turn on Street Fighter? The arcade lights are still on, but there are fewer people there. That’s because they are all at home playing Fortnite, Grand Theft Auto or FIFA.

In 2017, the biggest movie released was Beauty and the Beast which 1.5 million people paid to see. But that was easily eclipsed by FIFA 18, which sold 2.7 million copies. Even the opening episode of Game of Thrones on Sky Atlantic pulled in over 2.8 million subscription-paying viewers.

Titles at the top of the entertainment charts include immersive games like Call of Duty, but some of the most popular games are often free downloads. Take League of Legends for instance, which, while being totally free to play, still netted the makers over $1.7 billion in in-game purchases in 2015. Meanwhile, Fortnite has a player involvement number that is reportedly almost 3.5 million at any one time.

Entertainment figures like these don’t even include the huge participation figures of online casino gaming, which like League of Legends and Fortnite, are easily accessed by new gamers. Take the popular slot game Rainbow Riches slots at, which has spawned a number of other Irish-themed slot games and regularly features in the most popular slot lists year after year. And the gambling industry is growing in the UK; over £14 billion was spent online in 2018 on slots, casino and online gambling. When it comes to gaming the choices are long and the participation figures much bigger than those for consuming entertainment in the form of movies, music performances or shows.


Shifting entertainment values

The trend for staying in reaches out to almost every aspect of our lives. As a nation, the UK still buys books, lots of them, but they don’t go to the bookshop anymore. Sales of books at Amazon long since surpassed those bought at dedicated print outlets like Waterstones. Downloading onto eReaders has jumped too.

While watching the latest boxsets also means people are going out to restaurants for meals less. Sales of online food delivery companies like Hello Fresh have soared, as has the popularity of delivery services like Just Eat.

It seems the under 30s and under 20s are shifting the way entertainment is consumed. Perhaps economic pressure of almost a decade of low-interest rates, lack of savings and austerity have helped. Or it could be that online streaming technology like YouTube has become more important than traditional forms of entertainment for the most recent generations of young people. It is no coincidence that the latest streams of Fortnite from some of the most popular gamers regular tip the million views mark within hours of uploading. Either way, people aren’t exactly unhappy with not going out anymore.

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