With the increasing spending on entertainment, theme parks are getting more mentions from Chinese consumers when they plan to go out. New Mintel research reveals that the Chinese theme park market is estimated to reach value sales of RMB 39,545 million in 2017, growing 27% from 2016. Mintel also forecasts the market will maintain growth momentum in the next five years, increasing at a CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) of 17.7% and reaching value sales of an estimated RMB 89,239 million in 2022.

As indicated by their current popularity, theme parks are no longer a stranger to Chinese consumers, as 42% of urban Chinese consumers aged 20-49 have visited a theme park more than once in the last 12 months (ending August 2017). Meanwhile, 85% of parents took their children to theme parks in the last year and 71% of consumers visited with a lover or spouse.

Alice Li, Lifestyle Analyst at Mintel, said, “The positive growth we have seen in the theme parks market over the last year, as well as our prediction that growth will continue over the next five years, is underpinned by a series of market drivers. First of all, as a tourism and entertainment-based industry, theme parks benefit from the development of tourism in China supported by a series of favourable government policies. Also, Chinese consumers show growing needs for more mature tourism options such as theme parks as their disposable income rises. Moreover, with the opening of Shanghai Disneyland in the summer of 2016, many international brands have been accelerating their layout in China, which will raise consumers’ attention and stimulate further interest in theme parks. Finally, visiting theme parks can be considered a parent-child activity, and as such, brands should highlight the family features in theme parks in order to attract families.

Mintel research shows that urban Chinese consumers tend to plan a single-day trip for a theme park visit as just around a third have spent on multi-day tickets (34%) and themed hotels (33%), respectively. However, they are not ready to splurge on theme parks extra services such as express pass tickets (19%) and shuttle services (12%).

For in-park spending, 81% of urban Chinese consumers aged 20-49 have made food and drink purchases when visiting a theme park, while 76% have purchased tickets and 59% bought themed merchandise/souvenirs. From a demographic perspective, females are more likely to purchase food at a stand than males (60% vs 56%), and older males (64%) aged at 30-39 are significantly more likely to buy themed merchandise than males in their 20s (54%). Meanwhile, it is the exact opposite for young females aged at 20-29 (62%) who are most interested in buying themed merchandise.

“Our research shows that the majority of consumers are willing to spend on food and drink at theme parks, but it is important for parks to provide better dining experiences. As restaurants usually generate more revenue, local theme parks need to improve their restaurant dining experience,” Alice continued.

Looking into another side, there are some barriers for consumers to visit theme parks. Mintel research shows that urban Chinese consumers think expensive admission (35%), long lines (27%) and overcrowding (26%) are the most significant deterrents that keep non-visitors away.

In general, urban Chinese consumers from tier one cities are more concerned about price overall (42% vs 32% among tier two and three consumers), while urban Chinese consumers from lower tier cities (30%) are worried more about overcrowding and safety within the park. Furthermore, transportation is another area that needs improvement; one in five non-visitors say transportation concerns including inconvenient transportation (14%) and difficulty parking (7%), present barriers to visiting theme parks.

“We see a discrepancy in what tier one and lower tier consumer see as barriers to visiting theme parks likely because theme parks in tier one cities are usually priced higher than those in lower tier cities. Brands could provide more flexible pricing to attract sparing consumers. Also, given that theme parks are usually located in the suburbs, it is important for brands to provide timely and adequate assistance with transportation. For small parks that are unable to do that, detailed transportation guides or packages that include shuttle services or parking can be of help,” Alice concluded.

Press review copies of Mintel’s Theme Parks China 2017 report and interviews with Alice Li, Lifestyle Analyst at Mintel, are available upon request from the press office.

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