Recreation & Entertainment Trends to Watch: Bowling Centers, Arcades & Movie Theaters

Bowling Centers & Arcades

The bowling center industry operates bowling centers, which often sell food and beverages; and arcade, food, and entertainment venue industry includes video game arcades and game-focused family entertainment centers including debit card or coin operated arcade games that consumers play for a fee; similarly, these businesses tend to sell food and beverages. Rising disposable incomes are a benefit for these industries, however, increased competition has caused decline in these industries and continues to pose a threat.

  • Both the number of bowling centers and per capita consumption have declined steadily. This is due in part because of in-home entertainment typically being chosen instead of trips to bowling centers. Additionally, the number of league bowlers has also declined showing that bowling centers must start to appeal more to casual consumers and families. To attract casual bowlers, bowling centers have to become multi-use facilities that include a greater variety of offerings, including things like laser tag and indoor miniature golf, as well as high-end restaurants. The preference toward larger, more urban-located bowling centers with various amenities, including high-quality food and beverages and other activities will continue to be the source of growth within the industry, attracting a growing urban population.
  • Like bowling centers, coin-operated games have continued to fall in popularity. To address increasing competition, arcade venues must adapt similarly as well. Shifting toward providing other recreation and full-meal services is imperative to halt industry decline. Although children and adolescents are generally the targeted consumer base, parents and adult family members of the children are the actual patrons accompanying and paying for their children to play. To better serve adults, the incorporation of food and beverages, included sale of alcohol will help to increase attendance at these facilities.

Movie Theaters

Another traditional entertainment industry is movie theatres, which include cinemas, drive-in theatres, and other outdoor movie venues and film festivals exhibitors. As with other entertainment industries, increased competition has both decreased demand for this industry and shaped how firms operate.

  • Movie theatres have been competing with a growing number of at-home streaming platforms, including Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Video, and YouTube Live. These services allow people to easily view brand-new movies from the comfort of their own home, without having to even visit a local video store or Redbox to rent or purchase. These streaming services, coupled with increased broadband infrastructure and high-speed internet access, and increased number of streaming devices in the home, such as internet-enabled televisions, tablets, and smartphones, have all made movie-watching convenient and accessible for consumers. Because of this, the number of movie theater admissions has been on the decline for the past five years.[1]
  • In order to draw consumers, movie theaters have to focus on providing a consumer experience that cannot be duplicated at home; leveraging technological advancements will be a key component of enhancing the consumer experience. To gain back consumer dollars, theaters are expected to focus on completing facility upgrades by adding high-tech digital projection systems, and stadium style seating, and investing in 3D infrastructure.
  • The single most important driver in keeping movie theatres open and profitable is the commercial appeal for major blockbuster films, especially ones that are enhanced by large screens and loud sound, particularly in 3D format. This includes movies like Star Wars: The Force Awakens. However, fostering this appeal will require businesses in the industry to innovate and provide high-quality amenities, such as dining services during movies, and upgraded seating and various viewing offerings.

[1] IBISWorld: Move Theatres Industry in the US Report, 2017

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