Has retail's no-throw allowed leisure to hit the bulls-eye?


By David Williams

For a generation, bricks-and-mortar retailers have been struggling to deliver the memorable interactive experience that consumers are looking for: the sort of experience that inspires shoppers to glittering Instagram posts and enthusiastic Facebook videos.

In part this is because too often offline shopping doesn't do enough to encourage social media users' competitive instincts, providing little in the way of photo-worthy content.

Here, retail could take a leaf from leisure industry. Consumer appetite for competition is strong and leisure companies are tapping into this. Tech has enabled a boom in exercise centred offerings ranging from boutique spinning such as Digme and Psycle to live-streamed Crossfit and Ironman competitions.

The exercise experience is however limited to those already prepared to sweat it out (17% of individuals in the UK have a gym membership) and lack broad appeal, so when this research collaboration between Savills and the Leisure Property Forum on Competitive Socialising was previewed at the LPF 2018 Market Review last Thursday, it pricked a great deal of interest.

By blending familiar social activities such as crazy golf and darts with tech that delivers real-time metrics worthy of any millennial's Insta-story, this new crop of operators are delivering experiences which brings social groups together physically, without their members losing out digitally.

Get your game faces on...

Consumers are quickly evolving their wants and needs and while this is contributing to challenges in the retail sector, it is seeing a diversion of spend to leisure, now accounting for 14.3% of consumer spend.
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