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Leisure and attractions industry insights (July 2021)


Every month, Katapult compiles the most useful insights from the leisure and attractions industry to share with clients, operators and attraction owners. These insights are focused on consumer trends so we can all better understand the guests that are visiting our theme parks, museums, wildlife centres, FECs, water parks and other attraction types. This month’s edition features:

  1. The dramatic decline of the retail mall experience

  2. The visitor attraction opportunities and challenges of streaming services

  3. UK live events market to rebound quickest

  4. Virtual queue lines podcast

#1 Retail experience on dramatic decline

A report by Sensormatic has found significant changes to consumer behaviour in shopping centres and malls in the UK. While 52% of shoppers in January 2021 said that their spending had “not been impacted” by the pandemic, the shift in want shopping centres want has significantly changed.

Only 38% of shoppers now ‘enjoyed the experience of shopping’ with respondents suggesting that mask detection technology and contactless customer service become the norms in retail environments, even after social restrictions are eased. “We need to offer an even greater experience and environment than previously and one that cannot be replicated online” the report reads.

Katapult considers…

So what is the future for retail centres? The expansion of leisure entertainment venues is widely tipped to ‘fill the gaps’ left by anchor tenants, and help increase footfall once more. But finding the right attraction to meet the demographic and psychographic demands of the local market is a harder task. Yes, in-store technology can help to make shoppers feel safer, the first battle, however, is re-instating malls as go-to destinations once more – something which can only be achieved through exciting, immersive themed attractions and experiences.

#2 The double-edged sword of streaming

By 2025, there will be 1.6 billion of us subscribed to a streaming service. Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney+ are leading the industry in a content-on-demand digital consumption shift. For the leisure and attractions industry, these services provide both opportunities to take and challenges to overcome.

Global audiences are falling in love with original content created especially for these new services. The Mandalorian on Disney+ and Stranger Things on Netflix, are just two examples of these. These new shows-turned-IPs will generate consumer demand and a market for fandom-driven location-based entertainment. There will be potential for attraction operators to license these globally lucrative brands, should they have the idea to transform them into an immersive experience.

But, never forget the power of these streaming services to entertain their audience. Visitor attractions face more than just their 3 nearest geographic competitors, they are now up against guests watching Disney+ in their pyjamas at home instead. What can attractions do to offer something unique to the content-rich lives of their potential visitors?

#3 UK live events market to bounce back quickest

The UK live events market is set to bounce back quicker than most countries, according to a report from YouGov. 46% of UK respondents said they would feel ‘comfortable’ in attending concerts after lockdown restrictions end on July 19th – the global average for the same figure is just 38%. Only Denmark recorded a higher percentage of comfortable respondents (47%).

A successful vaccination deployment programme in both the UK and US has seen event ticket sales increase recently too. Live Nation has said these factors, alongside artists scheduling tours from Autumn 2021, are helping the market rebound. The UK report also recorded 19% of guests unsure on whether they would attend a concert, and 26% expecting to feel ‘uncomfortable’.

#4 Virtual queue lines and working with IPs

Our team members Phil Higgins and Jonathan Bonner sat down with BlueBox’s Mike Ross to record the latest edition of Thinking Outside the BlueBox podcast. Among the topics of discussion was the formation of Katapult 20 years ago, virtual queuing, working with IP and the reimagining of Viking Voyage at Tayto Park.

Take time out to listen to the hour-long, fascinating industry insights from Phil and Jonathan on our blog here.

Insights-driven design

Katapult design themed attractions and experiences that amaze and engage visitors globally. Our work is enjoyed by 50 million visitors, at 81 attractions, in 18 different countries, every year. Contact us today to see how our insights-driven approach can help create your next immersive attraction or experience.

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