Art museum visitor segments: evidence from Italy on omnivores and highbrow univores

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Ecole des Hautes Etudes Commerciales

This study segments the various types of art museum visitor using two-step cluster analysis. It goes beyond a simple demographic categorization of visitors and investigates why people visit museums, in particular what experiences they seek in museums based on their preferences and participation in various leisure activities. The sample was selected from among visitors to two art museums in Genoa, Italy. Face-to-face interviews were conducted with 400 visitors. The resulting 394 useable questionnaires yielded two clusters – Cultural Omnivores and Art Museum Univores – providing evidence for the omnivore/highbrow univore thesis described in the literature. The data suggest that the experiences visitors look for in museums, their preferences regarding various leisure activities, and their attendance at both highbrow and popular cultural events provide an effective means of segmenting art museum visitors. The theoretical contributions and managerial implications are discussed.

Market segmentation, Art museum visitors, Two-step cluster analysis, Omnivores/univores, Italy