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Unprecedented Surge: Competitive Socializing Sector Booms by 38%

12 January, 2024
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In a recent study by international real estate advisor Savills, findings reveal an exceptional surge in the competitive socializing sector over the past five years, boasting a remarkable 38% increase in venues since 2018. The resurgence of interest in in-person experiences post-COVID-19 has been a driving force behind this growth, making it the most significant development the leisure sector has witnessed in decades.

Competitive socializing comprises a diverse range of experiential leisure activities, including golf, stop the clock (STC), bowling, and virtual reality (VR), as well as ‘solo’ and ‘combo’ competitive socializing. Although the market has expanded as a whole, specific sub-sectors have experienced varying rates of acceleration.

Many brands are adopting a blended offering to stay at the top of their games. For instance, Boom Battle Bar and Lane7 have contributed a remarkable 455% increase in ‘combo’ attractions over the past five years. ‘Solo’ competitive socializing, representing venues focused on singular activities like darts, axe-throwing, and ping-pong, has grown by 162%. Even more established sectors like mini golf have seen a 96% increase, thanks to innovative designs and imaginative layouts. Bowling, with a substantial market presence, has grown by 10%, predominantly within the ‘combo’ market, while STC has experienced a 13% growth due to its low entry barriers and readily available properties. Brands with significant investment or intellectual property (IP) relationships tend to fare better, except for standalone VR, which has declined by 5% but remains a crucial growth area for new concepts.

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Looking ahead, the report underscores the importance of strategic branding, significant investment, and intellectual property relationships for brands aspiring to lead the competitive socializing charge. It’s a testament to the adage that in this evolving market, those who innovate, invest, and strategically position themselves are the ones poised for enduring success.

In conclusion, the competitive socializing sector, with its remarkable growth trajectory, stands as a vibrant microcosm of the evolving preferences and desires of leisure seekers. As we continue to embrace the resurgence of in-person experiences, the sector’s ability to adapt, diversify, and innovate signals not just a trend but a defining chapter in the ongoing narrative of experiential entertainment. The journey has just begun, and the future promises an exciting tapestry of competitive socializing experiences yet to unfold.

Credit: Savills, link