Whilst restaurants and pubs continue to dominate spending in the leisure industry, new research from Mintel reveals that it is music festival and concert sales that have been the headline act over the past five years. Indeed, out of all leisure sectors between 2010 and 2015 the music concerts and festivals market has shown the strongest rate of value growth, rising by 45%. Whilst Brits spent £1.5 billion attending these events in 2010, this is estimated to rise to £2.1 billion in 2015. Two in five (40%) Brits have been to a music concert or festival in the past 12 months*, with 7% going at least once a month.

While live music has been in the spotlight, sports have also seen strong performance numbers. Between 2010 and 2015 Mintel research shows that the sports participation market, including sports goods and equipment, has grown by 31% to reach £3.9 billion. What’s more, the live sports market has risen by 26% to reach £1.4 billion.

Overall, the leisure industry is expected to break the the £80 billion barrier in 2015, to reach an estimated £80.3 billion. This is up 15% on 2010, when the market was valued at £69.6 billion.

Michael Oliver, Senior Leisure Analyst at Mintel, said:

“Despite the challenging trading environment of the past five years the leisure industry is expected to surpass £80 billion in 2015. The market has been driven mostly by price increases as operators’ cost bases have risen steadily as a result of sharp rises in utility costs and increases in the minimum wage. The live music industry has shown the strongest rate of value growth between 2010 and 2015. The main reason for this is the increased focus placed on performing live by recording artists, as a result of declining revenues from the sale of recorded music. Partly on the back of the legacy of the London 2012 Olympics and as well as a result of government campaigns such as Get Active, sports participation spending has also seen a strong rise during this period.”

The leisure industry is expected to break the the £80 billion barrier in 2015

Additionally, whilst the cinema market has been a strong performer over the past five years, posting growth of 19.5%, it looks to be the standout performer of 2015. Indeed, the cinema market is estimated to reach £1.6 billion in 2015, up 13% on sales in 2014.

More than two thirds (68%) of Brits have gone to the cinema over the past 12 months, making this the fourth most popular leisure activity behind eating out at restaurants (86%), eating out in pubs (79%) and drinking in pubs or bars (74%).

“The highest rate of growth in 2015 is expected to be achieved by the cinema industry, reflecting a strong final quarter that will see three major potential box office hits opening in the form of Spectre, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2 and finally the long awaited Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens.” Michael comments.

However, despite the growth in the leisure market over the past five years, it seems there are still factors which leave consumers reluctant to leave the comfort of their own home. Over half (57%) of Brits agree you can create just as good an atmosphere having friends round to your house as you’d get in a pub. What’s more, the same proportion (57%) say that the price of drinks in leisure venues nowadays puts them off going out.

It seems atmosphere is also a barrier. Over half (53%) of Brits say that the amount of drunkenness or disorder on the street puts them off going out on Friday or Saturday nights, whilst over two in five (46%) say they prefer staying home to going out because they don’t have to worry about getting home late in the evening.

On the other hand, three in five (61%) agree that the convenience of having someone else prepare you food and/or drinks is one of the things they enjoy most about going out. What’s more, one in five (19%) say that even when they are running low on money, they always try to find the money to go out to leisure venues.

“The convenience of having someone do something for them that consumers would normally have to do themselves, like cooking or making a drink, is the major attraction of going out. Leisure operators could look at other ways in which they could tap into consumers’ desire for convenience, for example, enabling them to order and pay more easily and quickly by using apps.” Michael concludes.

*12 months to August 2015
Press review copies of Leisure Review UK 2015 report and interviews with Senior Leisure Analyst Michael Oliver are available on request from the press office.

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