Oktoberfest - ein Fest der Landeshauptstadt München
Photo: München Tourismus, Jan Saurer

Oktoberfest economy: sales, visitor structure, image

The Oktoberfest as an economic factor

Munich cannot be imagined without the Oktoberfest – not only because of its long tradition, but also for economic reasons. But who actually comes to the Oktoberfest and why? And what sales are generated at the largest folk festival in the world? Here are some exciting facts.

What is the economic value of the Wiesn?

The Department for Labor and Economics (RAW) of the City of Munich, as the organizer of the Oktoberfest, commissioned a representative survey during the Oktoberfest 2019, which provides information about the economic value of the festival, visitor structure and image. According to current calculations based on this survey, the economic value of the Oktoberfest in 2019 was 1.25 billion euros.

  • According to the surveys and calculations, the approximately 6.3 million festival visitors spent a total of around 448 million euros (per person on average 71.12 euros) directly at the Oktoberfest over the 16 days.
  • Foreign visitors left a further 289 million euros in the city for food, shopping, taxi rides and the use of public transport.
  • For overnight stays and gastronomy, the external festival guests again spent a total of around 513 million euros.
  • 71 percent (2014: 65 percent) of foreign guests stayed in Munich during the Oktoberfest. This
  • Overnight stays are divided as follows:
    - 31 percentage points (2014: 30 percentage points) chose accommodation with friends, relatives and acquaintances
    - 40 percentage points (2014: 70 percentage points) stayed in commercial accommodation (hotels, guesthouses, campsites, private landlords, youth hostels).
Anja Berger (Die Grünen - Rosa Liste), Wiesn boss Clemens Baumgärtner, CSU faction leader Manuel Pretzl • Photo: Rico Güttich

Where are the guests from?

The Oktoberfest is still a Bavarian festival: the vast majority of Oktoberfest visitors come from Bavaria at 70 percent (2014: 71 percent), specifically 62 percentage points directly from Munich and the surrounding area (2014: 58 percent) and 8 percent from the rest of Bavaria (2014: 13 percent).

9 percent of Oktoberfest guests (2014: 15 percent) travel from other German federal states. The remaining 21 percent of the festival guests (2014: 14 percent) come from abroad, including:

  • Italy 3.9% (2014: 1.7%)
  • the US 3.7% (2014: 1.7%)
  • Austria 2.9% (2014: 1.1%)
  • UK 1.4% (2014: 1.4%)
  • Ireland 0.7% (2014: 1.2%)
  • India 0.4% (2014: 0.7%)
  • Switzerland 1.3% (2014: 1.7%)
  • Australia 0.9% (2014: 1.0%)
  • Canada 0.9% (2014: 0.3%)
  • Netherlands 0.9% (2014: 0.3%)
  • France 0.3% (2014: 0.6%)
  • Brazil 0.3% (2014: 0.4%)
  • other countries: 3.4% (2014: 3.8%)

The statistical Oktoberfest table with ten seats is therefore occupied by six guests from Munich or the surrounding area, one other Bavarian, one German and two foreigners. The foreigners are very likely to come from Italy, the USA or Austria.

• Photo: Sebastian Lehner

How old are the visitors?

The Oktoberfest is still a festival for all generations. Young and old celebrate together. The general demographic change
the average age of Oktoberfest visitors is increasing accordingly. The age group “30 years and older” accounted for 64 percent in 2019 (2014: 57 percent). Accordingly, the proportion of under-30s fell from 43 percent in 2014 to 34 percent in 2019.

The largest group of visitors was 30 to 39 year olds with 25 percent, followed by 25 to 29 year olds with 17 percent. Respectively
15 percent were 18 to 24 year olds and guests aged 40 to 49. Visitors aged 60 and over accounted for 13 percent in 2019, compared to 12 percent in 2014. At 11 percent, the group of 50 to 59 year olds and those under 18 brought up the rear with 2 percent.

The gender ratio is balanced with 50 percent (2014: 51 percent) female and 49 percent (2014: 49 percent) male visitors. One percent of the visitors chose the term diverse. In 1999/2000, 62 percent of the guests were men and only 38 percent women. In 2008 women and men already had the same proportion as in 2019.

Once at the Oktoberfest - always at the Oktoberfest?

When asked "Are you visiting the Oktoberfest for the first time?" 22 percent (2014: 20 percent) of those surveyed answered "yes". In both 2014 and 2019, every fifth visitor visited the Oktoberfest for the first time. Only five percent of the guests from Munich, but 28 percent of the guests from Germany and 60 percent of the guests from abroad were at the Oktoberfest for the first time in 2019. 78 percent (2014: 80 percent) of those surveyed are repeat visitors and have visited the Oktoberfest once or several times before.

For the majority of Oktoberfest visitors, visiting the festival grounds over the 16 days is not a one-off event. Almost 80 percent of the guests visited the Oktoberfest more than once in 2019, more than half (57 percent) even more than three times. Thus, the frequency of visits has increased significantly compared to 2014. The majority of the guests spent between three and nine hours at the folk festival.

How satisfied are the guests?

The vast majority of guests are satisfied with what is on offer at the Oktoberfest. A total of 98 percent (2014: 96 percent) of all respondents like the range of attractions, goods and catering establishments. 95 percent of those surveyed liked the range of restaurants. When asked "What do you miss from the range of food and drinks" over 36 percent of those surveyed answered "cheaper offers". 9 percent of those surveyed would like "healthier food" and 5 percent "more vegetarian".

85 percent of those surveyed were largely satisfied with the variety of rides alone. However, 11 percent of the guests would have been happy about the lower prices.

The offer for children in general at the Oktoberfest was rated positively by 64 percent of the guests surveyed, but also considered too expensive. Deductions for child-friendliness included responses of “too crowded” (7.6 percent), calls for more areas just for children (1.1 percent) and occurrences of “too many drunk people” (0.6 percent). At 94 percent, the guests mostly feel safe on the fairground.

In terms of accessibility, the Oktoberfest is a leader among the German folk festivals. 60 percent of those surveyed find the Oktoberfest
disabled access.

The desire for cashless payment options is great for more than half (58 percent) of those surveyed.

Who goes to the beer tents?

A visit to one of the festival halls is simply part of a stroll through the Oktoberfest for most guests: 79 percent (2014: 78 percent) of all respondents visited a beer tent, 15 percent (2014: 22 percent) had no intention of visiting a festival hall, and 6 percent were still unsure. The main reasons for not visiting a beer tent were "not interested" (62 percent), "no space" (19 percent) and "too expensive" (11 percent).

A visit to the beer tent is more attractive for the group of international guests than for guests from Germany. 92 percent (2014: 91 percent) of those surveyed from abroad stated that they wanted to visit a beer tent, compared to 76 percent (2014: 73 percent) of Germans.

Visiting a festival hall is particularly attractive for those under 30: up to 87 percent of 18 to 24 year olds go
Beer tent, 85 percent of the 25 to 29 year olds are also there. At 82 percent, they are particularly attracted to the festival halls
also the group of the best agers from 50 to 59 years. For the 30 to 39 year olds with 77 percent and the 40 to 49 year olds with at least 72 percent, a visit to the beer tent is part of the Oktoberfest. But the 60+ generation is hardly behind the younger ones at 76 percent.

Visiting a marquee is still more attractive for men at 81 percent (2014: 83 percent) than for women at 78 percent (2014: 74 percent). The trend indicates a convergence of the two sexes on this question.

• Photo: Sebastian Lehner

Who throws themselves into the folk festival fun?

More than half of those surveyed (59 percent) stated that they visit the showmen's area at the Oktoberfest. Partly out of lack of interest (61 percent), partly because it was too expensive (20 percent) or because the fairground was too full (6.4 percent), the answers to the question of why the fairground area was not visited were.

Who do you meet at the Oidn Wiesn?

51 percent of those surveyed like the less hustle and bustle at the Oidn Wiesn. The nostalgic flair with the historic fairground rides and
For 27 percent of those surveyed, attractions make this part of the Oktoberfest particularly appealing, the special atmosphere and good mood motivate 45 percent to visit and 22 percent see the Oidn Wiesn as a "piece of home".

The offer of dancing, the selection of music and the cultural mediation are perceived as positive. Of the festival tents at the Oidn Wiesn, the program of the festival tent Tradition with Bavarian folk culture was most popular (21 percent). The offer for children is also praised (18 percent). 17 percent of those surveyed saw good chances of free seats in the festival tents when visiting the Oidn Wiesn. 38 percent of those surveyed stated that they intended to visit the nostalgic part of the folk festival. In 2019 around 557,000 (2014: 610,000) paying guests visited the Oide Wiesn.

Which media do Oktoberfest guests use to obtain information?

However, when asked "What media did you use to get information about the Oktoberfest", most of the guests referred to word of mouth (62 percent), followed by television and the Internet (46 percent each). The official Oktoberfest website www.oktoberfest.de was accessed by 72 percent of the users, 47 percent found information on the official city portal www.muenchen.de. 20 percent of respondents from Germany and 40 percent from abroad used Instagram for research.

Almost 40 percent of those surveyed chose the Oktoberfest app as an additional source of information. Foreign visitors (47 percent) informed themselves more in advance than Germans (20 percent) or Munich visitors (15 percent). In terms of age, younger people between the ages of 18 and 29 primarily sought information before visiting via television (50 percent), Instagram (39 percent), the Internet (37 percent) and Facebook (32 percent). have caught up with.

How well known is the Wiesn?

The Oktoberfest is known all over the world and is a sure-fire success. The Oktoberfest has not been advertised since 1985, the year of the 175th Oktoberfest anniversary with 7.1 million visitors. A survey on the acceptance and familiarity of German terms abroad, which was carried out worldwide by the Bates Agency in February 1999 on behalf of the German National Tourist Board, showed that 91 percent of those surveyed knew the term "Oktoberfest". Today, social media carry the Oktoberfest all over the world: Currently, for example, the search service “Google” finds entries in the millions for the term “Oktoberfest” (May 2020: 56,300,000 entries), “youtube” 21,800,000 (2014: almost one million) entries, Instagram 24,300,000 entries and Twitter tweeted 41,700,000 (2014: 3.5 million) times about the Oktoberfest. Not to forget the webcams that are installed at the Oktoberfest and provide daily live images of the festival happenings around the world. Due to its worldwide fame, the Oktoberfest is a tourist magnet and export item par excellence.

What image value does the Oktoberfest have?

More than 2,000 Munich-style “Oktoberfests” are held all over the world. The biggest of these are in Blumenau (Brazil) and Kitchener (Canada), each with around a million visitors, followed by Frankenmuth/Michigan (USA) with around 350,000 visitors. There are superlative "beer festivals" in China: the festivals in Beijing, Dalian and Quingdao in July and August attract millions of visitors.

The Oktoberfest unmistakably shapes the image of the white and blue metropolis. The advertising value of the Oktoberfest for Munich is not
measurable, but the reputation that Munich enjoys nationally and internationally through the Oktoberfest is reflected in the number of visitors. Last but not least, thanks to this unique folk festival, Munich is one of the leading tourism metropolises in Germany.

How many people work at the Oktoberfest?

During the “Oktoberfest season” around 13,000 jobs are available at the Oktoberfest. 8,000 employees are employed on a permanent basis, another 5,000 people find work as temporary employees at the Oktoberfest.

Who organizes the Oktoberfest?

For more than 180 years, the Oktoberfest has been organized by the state capital of Munich and the development of the folk festival by
urban controlled. The Department for Labor and Economics is responsible for the organization and execution of the festival. At his suggestion, the Munich City Council's Economics Committee makes all the important decisions about the Oktoberfest. Around 1,100 applications from showmen and market traders are received and evaluated every year. Ultimately, around 550 applicants are admitted.