The ups and downs of U.K.’s leisure market are actually a good thing. With trampolining gaining in popularity among adventure-seeking British adults, these and other leisure activities — many of which were once the domain of children — are giving retailers and marketers a reason to jump for joy.
The U.K. leisure market is in robust health benefiting from consumers seeking out more experience-led activities, with live music in particular receiving a boost from this trend.
Fun-loving Brits are expected to spend £129 billion on leisure activities this year, a 17% increase compared to five years ago. In fact, the future of the U.K. leisure market is predicted to be in great shape, with Brits forecast to spend £141 billion on enjoying themselves by 2022, according to Mintel’s Leisure Review UK 2018 report.
Kids’ party favorites are capturing the imagination of Britain’s adults as Mintel finds that trampolining and outdoor assault courses are proving to be popular. Almost three in ten (28%) adults have tried trampolining, with a further quarter (24%) interested in trying it in the future. While interest in this activity peaks among 25-34 year olds (37%), almost one in ten (8%) over-55s say they would be interested in trampolining too, according to the research firm.
Not just for kids, or the faint-hearted
As if trampolining isn’t enough to get the heart pumping, Mintel research reveals that one in seven (15%) Brits has tried an outdoor assault course with a further three in ten (29%) interested in trying one in the future, rising to just under half (46%) of 18-24-year-olds.
Other new leisure activities that have already captured Brits’ interest include immersive theatre (with 13% having tried it), virtual reality theme park rides (11%), and escape room challenges (10%).
“More adults are taking part in activities that are traditionally aimed at children,” says Helen Fricker, associate director leisure.
There has been a rise in trampolining parks and ball pits that cater to adults. Other kids’ party favorites, such as bouncy castles and slides, are also getting the grown-up treatment. This includes adults-only inflatable assault courses, accompanied by craft beer, DJs, and street food markets. Whether it’s trampolining, outdoor assault courses or escape room challenges, there is a clear drive towards activities which are more active in nature, she says.
“Understandably, an outdoor assault course is not going to appeal to everyone as they generally require a good level of physical fitness and have a reputation for not being for the faint-hearted,” Fricker adds. “However, the rise in their popularity amongst Millennials is reflective of how health and fitness have become almost a status symbol.”
Tenpin bowling makes a comeback
Online gaming and betting (up 67%), music, concerts and festivals (up 35%) and tenpin bowling (up 28%) were the top three fastest growing leisure markets by value between 2012-17. In contrast, nightclubs were the worst performing sector of the leisure industry, suffering a 18% decline between 2012 and 2017, according to Mintel.
Highlighting the nation’s growing love of leisure, some 30% of U.K. adults (rising to 48% of Millennials) who have taken part in a leisure activity in the last year say they are spending more money on leisure activities than they were a year ago, Mintel reports.
“The U.K. leisure market is in robust health benefiting from consumers seeking out more experience-led activities, with live music in particular receiving a boost from this trend,” Fricker, says. “There are now more events taking place, with more Brits deciding to stay in the U.K. for gigs, while the favorable exchange rate is encouraging more foreign fans to attend events here.”
After years of decline, tenpin bowling is also enjoying a surprise renaissance with operators reaping the rewards of investing in sites and more appealing food menus, while some bowling sites also offer a choice of multiple activities, such as live music and karaoke, she explains.
“Nightclubs are still struggling to overcome the challenges they face as the result of changing consumer habits, including young adults drinking less, and many more alternative night-time activities such as immersive cinema or indoor street food markets.” Fricker adds.