Recreation & Entertainment Trends to Watch: Nontraditional

Experiences must be convenient for the consumer, both in location and price, as well as tailored to them, providing them with high-quality customer service and supportive amenities.

This is the final post in the Entertainment and Recreation Trends Series (aka: #rectrends), which reviewed various social and economic factors that impact some of the most quintessential recreation industries in the US like arcades and golf courses. Through this series, we've learned that major trends affecting traditional recreation industries include increased disposable income, decreased leisure time, and demographic shifts and changing preferences around the need for convenience and flexibility. In addition to these trends, a new wave of recreation activities is emerging and competing for our leisure time. 

Nontraditional Entertainment and Recreation Trends to Watch

Gyms, fitness clubs, bowling centers, arcades, movie theatres, and the like, are all traditional venues for entertainment and recreation within the United States. These industries are being shaped by the increasing amount of competition; some competition is stemming from technological advancements making it easier for consumers to participate in activities in the comforts of their own home, but other competition is coming from new and innovative recreation options.

Growing in popularity are high-adrenaline activities like indoor trampoline parks, indoor rock climbing, and axe throwing, as well as less physically demanding options like paint-and-sip studios. Individually, these industries are smaller and less encompassing, however, consumers are taking interest in availability of new and unique options. Since consumers have less time to spend on leisure activities, they are looking for new and worthwhile experiences. However, these experiences must be convenient for the consumer, both in location and price, as well as tailored to them, providing high-quality customer service and supportive amenities. A few of our favorites include:

  • Axe throwing – This activity is not necessarily new, and has already gained popularity in parts of Canada. Founded by Toronto native, Matt Wilson, axe throwing as a recreation-business began with the Backyard Axe Throwing League in 2006.[1] Today in the US, axe throwing is the newest Friday night excursion due to the new wave of axe-throwing bars. These bars are opening up in major cities like Boston, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Detroit, Austin, Charlotte, Denver, and Brooklyn. As for the activity, it’s exactly what is sounds like, bar-goes will throw axes at wooden targets, hang out with their friends, have drink or two, and some snacks. Although this may sound dangerous, Bad Axe, a popular axe-throwing company, claims there has not been any major incidents at any of its locations.[2]  
  • Trampoline Parks For a more family-oriented activity, but no less adrenaline-filled, trampoline parks have become a major draw. These indoor parks, are wall-to-wall trampolines, featuring sections for activities like basketball or dodgeball, as well as ball pits, trampoline slides, and space for free jumping. Of course, a wall-to-wall jumping zone will be ideal for kids, but some trampoline parks are even catering to adults by having workout areas, where jumping around can burn thousands of calories. In general, these parks also have arcades and party rooms off to the side of trampolines to host parties and events. (If you are a local reader, check out Sky Zone or Flight in Albany, NY....the Camoin Team may have done some hands-on research in this space.)
  • Paint-and-Sip Studios For people who still want an excuse to hang out with their friends on a Friday night, but are less interested in the adrenaline rush of throwing axes across bars or jumping around a room full of trampolines, paint-and-sip studios have recently been gaining in popularity. According to Forbes, Painting with a Twist, a popular paint-and-sip franchises in the U.S., reported a 37% growth in sales in 2014; a similar company, Pinot’s Palette, opened 100 franchise locations in 31 states since opening its first location just under ten years ago.[3] Other twists on paint-and-sip studios have also come on the scene, with studios instead featuring mac-and-cheese bars, and other specialty food products, this is helpful to engage both families and younger people in the activity. (If you are a local reader, check out Canvas Corks and Forks in Troy, NY.)

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