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Theme Parks - UK - February 2010

  • In 2009, the theme parks market grew by 2.4% to £315 million. Admissions grew by more than 3% to almost 14 million.
  • Average spend per head has increased by almost 13% over the past five years.
  • The industry has benefited from the economic recession because the more straightened financial circumstances of many consumers and a weak pound: a greater number decided to stay at home (‘Staycations’) and take more day trips, short breaks and even their main holiday in the UK rather than travel abroad.
  • The weakness of sterling has encouraged more inbound tourism, benefiting the parks around London, where the majority of inbound tourists spend their time.
  • With policies of sustained and consistent investment in new rides, attractions and areas, the theme parks industry has proactively contributed to the good performance of the market. Where previously major investment might have occurred every two or three years, parks are now introducing new attractions every year, stimulating repeat business.
  • A quarter of adults visited a theme park in 2009. Of these, 88% were returning visitors and 12% were first-time visitors, emphasising the importance of maintaining a strong relationship with customers.
  • Convenience and affordability are key to attracting visitors, such as being able to check themselves in with tickets pre-printed at home, queue-avoiding and discounted accommodation and/or travel deals.

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Table of contents

  1. Issues in the Market

      • Main issues
        • Definition
          • Abbreviations
          • Future Opportunities

            • Escaping to a fantasy land
              • Making a connection
                • Online attraction
                • Market in Brief

                  • Industry reaps reward of investment and staycation trend
                    • Revenue growth outstrips admissions
                      • Admission income boosted by queue-busting extras
                        • In-park spend share dips in recession
                          • Merlin the dominant player
                            • Survival of the fittest
                              • Promotion geared around Easter and summer holidays
                                • Alton Towers most visited park
                                  • Parks seen as day trip with family or friends
                                    • Half have been to theme park abroad
                                      • Most 2009 visitors were returnees
                                        • Advances focusing on convenience and affordability find most favour
                                          • Fans most enthusiastic about parks
                                            • Deterred potentially bigger customers
                                            • Internal Market Environment

                                              • Key points
                                                • Theme park visiting on the up
                                                  • Figure 1: Trends in visits to theme parks, 2004-09
                                                • Rising overheads increase cost pressures
                                                  • Utility costs
                                                    • Figure 2: Trends in utility prices* paid by non-domestic consumers, 2004-09
                                                  • Staff costs
                                                    • Figure 3: Trends in the National Minimum Wage compared to the retail price index, 2004-09
                                                  • Food costs
                                                    • Figure 4: Trends in food prices compared to all retail prices*, 2004-09
                                                  • Planning regime hinders growth
                                                    • Gaming machines take a hit
                                                      • The emergence of the Screenage generation
                                                        • Making a break for it
                                                          • Figure 5: Total number of holidays taken, 2009
                                                          • Figure 6: Number of short breaks of three nights or less taken in the past 12 months, 2008-09
                                                          • Figure 7: Short breaks in the british isles and theme park visits, 2008-09
                                                          • Figure 8: Number of holidays of more than three nights taken in the past 12 months, 2008-09
                                                          • Figure 9: Holidays in the british isles and theme park visits, 2008-09
                                                          • Figure 10: Trends in proportion of adults taking a theme park holiday, 2008-09
                                                          • Figure 11: Type of accommodation, by theme park holidays, 2009
                                                          • Figure 12: Activities most enjoyed doing in the holiday, 2008-09
                                                        • Tax tough on tourism?
                                                          • Potential boost from daylight saving?
                                                          • Broader Market Environment

                                                            • Key points
                                                              • Recession good business for UK attractions?
                                                                • Figure 13: Trends in quarterly GDP change, 2004-09
                                                                • Figure 14: Trends in consumer confidence, January 2008-January 2010
                                                              • Population changes set to aid parks targeting younger children?
                                                                • Figure 15: Trends in the age structure of the UK population, by gender, 2004-14
                                                              • More affluent population positive for theme parks
                                                                • Figure 16: Forecast adult population trends, by socio-economic group, 2004-14
                                                              • Larger households set to continue contracting
                                                                • Figure 17: UK households, by size, 2004-14
                                                              • Weak Pound boosts inbound tourism
                                                                • Figure 18: Sterling exchange rates, 2004-09
                                                              • Parks at the mercy of the elements
                                                                • Figure 19: UK weather trends, 2002-09
                                                                • Figure 20: Regional variations in rainfall levels in key summer months, 2009
                                                            • Competitive Context

                                                              • Key points
                                                                • Fast-growing industry compared to other leisure sectors
                                                                  • Figure 21: Consumer expenditure on selected leisure activities, 2004-09
                                                                • Competition comes mainly from other attractions
                                                                  • Figure 22: Places/attractions visited in the last 12 months, 2006-09
                                                                • Theme parks no more susceptible to cutbacks than most
                                                                  • Figure 23: Spending intentions towards leisure activities in coming year, July 2009
                                                                • Competing on a global stage
                                                                  • Figure 24: Top five theme parks in the world, 2008
                                                                • Disneyland a major competitor to UK parks
                                                                  • Figure 25: Top five theme parks in Europe, 2008
                                                              • Strengths and Weaknesses in the Market

                                                                  • Strengths
                                                                    • Weaknesses
                                                                    • Who’s Innovating?

                                                                      • Ride developments take precedence
                                                                        • Food for thought
                                                                          • Queue-busting advances
                                                                            • Resort format holds key to future prosperity
                                                                              • Lines between theme parks and other attractions continue to blur
                                                                                • Annual passes hit the spot
                                                                                  • 4D – the extra dimension?
                                                                                    • Making an occasion of it
                                                                                      • Ride photography for the modern age – downloadable video to mobile phones
                                                                                        • The antidote to faster, scarier rides?
                                                                                          • New parks for Horrible Histories and BBC?
                                                                                            • Getting social
                                                                                            • Market Size and Forecast

                                                                                              • Key points
                                                                                                • Industry bounces back on crest of ‘staycation’ wave …
                                                                                                  • Figure 26: UK theme parks market, by volume and value, 2004-14
                                                                                                • … as operators reap rewards of sustained investment
                                                                                                  • A tale of two halves …
                                                                                                    • … as revenue per visitor dips in 2009
                                                                                                      • Medium- and longer-term prospects good
                                                                                                      • Segment Performance

                                                                                                        • Key points
                                                                                                          • Admissions the primary source of revenue
                                                                                                            • Figure 27: UK theme parks market, by value, by segment, 2004-09
                                                                                                          • Admissions gain market share
                                                                                                            • Figure 28: UK theme park admissions revenue trends, 2004-09
                                                                                                          • Recession eats into catering sales growth
                                                                                                            • Figure 29: UK theme park catering revenue trends, 2004-09
                                                                                                          • Merchandise slips back
                                                                                                            • Figure 30: UK theme park merchandise revenue trends, 2004-09
                                                                                                          • Other revenue sustained by accommodation growth
                                                                                                            • Figure 31: UK theme park other revenue trends, 2004-09
                                                                                                        • Market Share

                                                                                                          • Key points
                                                                                                            • Merlin weaves its magic
                                                                                                              • Figure 32: Leading UK theme park operators ranked by admissions, 2009
                                                                                                              • Figure 33: Leading UK theme park operators ranked by turnover* 2008/09
                                                                                                          • Companies and Products

                                                                                                            • Key points
                                                                                                              • Major players
                                                                                                                • Merlin Entertainments Group Ltd
                                                                                                                  • Alton Towers
                                                                                                                      • Figure 34: Key financial data for Alton Towers Resort Operations Ltd, 2008
                                                                                                                    • Thorpe Park
                                                                                                                      • Figure 35: Key financial data for Thorpe Park Resort Operations Ltd, 2008
                                                                                                                    • LEGOLAND Windsor
                                                                                                                      • Figure 36: Key financial data for Legoland Windsor, 2005-08
                                                                                                                    • Chessington World of Adventures
                                                                                                                      • Figure 37: Key financial data for Chessington World of Adventures Operations Ltd, 2008
                                                                                                                    • Flamingo Land Limited
                                                                                                                      • Figure 38: Key financial data for Flamingo Land Limited, 2005-08
                                                                                                                    • Drayton Manor Park Ltd
                                                                                                                      • Figure 39: Key financial data for Drayton Manor Park Ltd, 2006-08
                                                                                                                    • Gulliver’s
                                                                                                                      • Gulliver’s World
                                                                                                                        • Figure 40: Key financial data for Gulliver’s World, 2005-08
                                                                                                                      • Gulliver’s Land
                                                                                                                        • Figure 41: Key financial data for Gulliver’s Land Limited, 2005-08
                                                                                                                      • Gulliver’s Kingdom
                                                                                                                        • Paultons Park Ltd
                                                                                                                          • Figure 42: Key financial data for Paultons Park Ltd, 2005-08
                                                                                                                        • Signet Investments SA (Aspro Group)
                                                                                                                            • Figure 43: Key financial data for Oakwood Leisure Ltd, 2004-08
                                                                                                                          • Maximum Fun Ltd
                                                                                                                            • Figure 44: Key financial data for Maximum Fun Ltd, 2005-09
                                                                                                                          • Lightwater Valley Attractions Ltd
                                                                                                                            • Figure 45: Key financial data for Lightwater Valley Attractions Ltd, 2005-09
                                                                                                                          • The Story Group/Knights Leisure
                                                                                                                            • The Cornwall Aircraft Park (Helston) Ltd
                                                                                                                                • Figure 46: Key financial data for The Cornwall Aircraft Park Ltd, 2008-09
                                                                                                                              • Compagnie des Alpes SA
                                                                                                                                • Figure 47: Key financial data for Pleasurewood Hills Ltd, 2004-08
                                                                                                                              • Competitor profile
                                                                                                                                • Blackpool Pleasure Beach Ltd
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 48: Key financial data for Blackpool Pleasure Beach Ltd, 2005-08
                                                                                                                              • Brand Communication and Promotion

                                                                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                                                                  • Adspend reaches new high
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 49: UK major theme parks expenditure on main media advertising, 2005-09*
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 50: UK major theme parks expenditure on main media advertising, by media type, 2009*
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 51: UK major theme parks expenditure on main media advertising, by month, 2009*
                                                                                                                                • Brand Elements

                                                                                                                                  • Key points
                                                                                                                                    • Brand map
                                                                                                                                        • Figure 52: Attitudes towards and usage of theme park brands, January 2010
                                                                                                                                      • Brand qualities of theme park brands
                                                                                                                                        • Fun important, but safety seen as lacking
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 53: Personalities of various theme park brands, January 2010
                                                                                                                                        • Experience of theme park brands
                                                                                                                                          • Alton Towers most visited
                                                                                                                                            • Figure 54: Consumer usage of various theme park brands, January 2010
                                                                                                                                          • Brand consideration for theme park brands
                                                                                                                                            • Alton Towers and LEGOLAND biggest draws
                                                                                                                                              • Figure 55: Consideration of various theme park brands, January 2010
                                                                                                                                            • Brand satisfaction for theme park brands
                                                                                                                                              • Most popular, most fun, most satisfying
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 56: Satisfaction with various theme park brands, January 2010
                                                                                                                                              • Brand commitment to theme park brands
                                                                                                                                                • Oakwood and Alton Towers top for loyalty
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 57: Commitment to various theme park brands, January 2010
                                                                                                                                                • Brand intentions for theme park brands
                                                                                                                                                  • Alton Towers keeps them coming back
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 58: Future usage intentions for various theme park brands, January 2010
                                                                                                                                                  • Brand recommendation for theme park brands
                                                                                                                                                    • Alton Towers and LEGOLAND most recommended
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 59: Recommendation of various theme park brands, January 2010
                                                                                                                                                    • Chessington World of Adventures
                                                                                                                                                      • What the consumer thinks
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 60: Attitudes towards the Chessington World of Adventures brand, January 2010
                                                                                                                                                      • Thorpe Park
                                                                                                                                                        • What the consumer thinks
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 61: Attitudes towards the Thorpe Park brand, January 2010
                                                                                                                                                        • LEGOLAND Windsor
                                                                                                                                                          • What the consumer thinks
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 62: Attitudes towards the LEGOLAND Windsor brand, January 2010
                                                                                                                                                          • Blackpool Pleasure Beach
                                                                                                                                                            • What the consumer thinks
                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 63: Attitudes towards the Blackpool Pleasure Beach brand, January 2010
                                                                                                                                                            • Alton Towers
                                                                                                                                                              • What the consumer thinks
                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 64: Attitudes towards the Alton Towers brand, January 2010
                                                                                                                                                            • Which Theme Parks Have People Visited?

                                                                                                                                                              • Key points
                                                                                                                                                                • Two thirds of adults have visited a Merlin theme park
                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 65: Theme parks visited, December 2009
                                                                                                                                                                • Alton Towers most visited park
                                                                                                                                                                  • Thorpe Park appeals to younger audience
                                                                                                                                                                    • Chessington profile similar to Thorpe Park
                                                                                                                                                                      • LEGOLAND visitors tend to be younger
                                                                                                                                                                        • Drayton Manor and Flamingo Land only other parks with significant penetration
                                                                                                                                                                          • Other parks achieve low visiting levels by comparison
                                                                                                                                                                            • Four out of five have visited a theme park but still potential
                                                                                                                                                                              • Theme park visiting combinations
                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 66: Theme parks visited, by most popular theme parks visited, December 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 67: Theme parks visited, by next most popular theme parks visited, December 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 68: Theme parks visited, by other theme parks visited, December 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 69: Theme parks visited, by least popular theme parks visited, December 2009
                                                                                                                                                                            • When and With Whom Do People Visit Theme Parks?

                                                                                                                                                                              • Key points
                                                                                                                                                                                • Day trips still most popular visiting occasion
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 70: Statements on visiting theme parks, December 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                • Visiting with family slightly more popular than with friends
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Hotel appeal strongest to families
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Night-time thrills?
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Attitudes towards Theme Parks

                                                                                                                                                                                      • Key points
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Almost half have been to a foreign theme park
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 71: Attitudes towards theme parks, December 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                      • Interest in Potential Improvements to Theme Parks

                                                                                                                                                                                        • Key points
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Printing tickets proves most popular
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 72: Changes in offers and facilities that would make theme park more interesting, December 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Theme Parks Targeting Opportunities

                                                                                                                                                                                          • Key points
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 73: Theme parks target groups, December 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Deterred
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Fans
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Foreign Is Best
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Disinterested
                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Fans have highest level of visiting but still focused on big six
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 74: Theme parks visited, by target groups, December 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Fans happy to visit with anyone, anytime
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 75: Statements on visiting theme parks, by target groups, December 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Convenience and affordability key aspects for Deterred
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 76: Changes in offers and facilities that would make theme park more interesting, by target groups, December 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Appendix – Internal Market Environment

                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 77: Theme park holiday, by demographics, 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Appendix – Broader Market Environment

                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 78: Regional variations in rainfall, 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Appendix – Which Theme Parks Have People Visited? – Detailed Demographics

                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 79: Most popular theme parks visited, by demographics, December 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 80: Next most popular theme parks visited, by demographics, December 2009 (continued)
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 81: Next most popular theme parks visited, by demographics, December 2009 (continued)
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 82: Other theme parks visited, by demographics, December 2009 (continued)
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 83: Least popular theme parks visited, by demographics, December 2009 (continued)
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 84: Theme parks visited, by most popular theme parks visited, December 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Appendix – When and With Whom Do People Visit Theme Parks? – Detailed Demographics

                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 85: Most popular statements on visiting theme parks, by demographics, December 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 86: Next most popular statements on visiting theme parks, by demographics, December 2009 (continued)
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 87: Other statements on visiting theme parks, by demographics, December 2009 (continued)
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Appendix – Attitudes towards Theme Parks – Detailed Demographics

                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 88: Most popular attitudes towards theme parks, by demographics, December 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 89: Next most popular attitudes towards theme parks, by demographics, December 2009 (continued)
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 90: Attitudes towards theme parks, by most popular attitudes towards theme parks, December 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 91: Attitudes towards theme parks, by next most popular attitudes towards theme parks, December 2009 (continued)
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 92: Attitudes towards theme parks, by other attitudes towards theme parks, December 2009 (continued)
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 93: Attitudes towards theme parks, by most popular theme parks visited, December 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 94: Attitudes towards theme parks, by next most popular theme parks visited, December 2009 (continued)
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 95: Attitudes towards theme parks, by next most popular theme parks visited, December 2009 (continued)
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 96: Attitudes towards theme parks, by other theme parks visited, December 2009 (continued)
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 97: Attitudes towards theme parks, by least popular theme parks visited, December 2009 (continued)
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Appendix – Interest in Improvements to Theme Parks – Detailed Demographics

                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 98: Most popular changes in offers and facilities that would make theme park more interesting, by demographics, December 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 99: Next most popular changes in offers and facilities that would make theme park more interesting, by demographics, December 2009 (continued)
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 100: Other changes in offers and facilities that would make theme park more interesting, by demographics, December 2009 (continued)
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 101: Changes in offers and facilities that would make theme park more interesting, by most popular theme parks visited, December 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 102: Changes in offers and facilities that would make theme park more interesting, by next most popular theme parks visited, December 2009 (continued)
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 103: Changes in offers and facilities that would make theme park more interesting, by next most popular theme parks visited, December 2009 (continued)
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 104: Changes in offers and facilities that would make theme park more interesting, by other theme parks visited, December 2009 (continued)
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 105: Changes in offers and facilities that would make theme park more interesting, by least popular theme parks visited, December 2009 (continued)
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 106: Changes in offers and facilities that would make theme park more interesting, by most popular attitudes towards theme parks, December 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 107: Changes in offers and facilities that would make theme park more interesting, by next most popular attitudes towards theme parks, December 2009 (continued)
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 108: Changes in offers and facilities that would make theme park more interesting, by other attitudes towards theme parks, December 2009 (continued)
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Appendix – Theme Parks Targeting Opportunities – Detailed Demographics

                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 109: Target groups, by demographics, December 2009

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Companies Covered

                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Aldi Stores Ltd (UK & Ireland)
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Alton Towers
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Asda Group Ltd
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Barclaycard
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Blackpool Pleasure Beach Limited
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • British Association of Leisure Parks, Piers & Attractions Limited
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • British Market Research Bureau (BMRB)
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • British Sky Broadcasting Group plc (BSkyB)
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Burger King UK Ltd
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Chessington World of Adventures
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Chester Zoo
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Cinema Advertising Association
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Co-operative Group
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Crealy Adventure Park
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Drayton Manor Park Ltd
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Facebook, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Flamingo Land Theme Park
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Government Actuary's Department (GAD)
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Gulliver's Theme Parks
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • J. Sainsbury
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • LA Fitness PLC
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • LEGOLAND Windsor Park Ltd
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Lidl (UK)
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Lightwater Valley Attractions Ltd
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • London Aquarium
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • London Dungeon Ltd
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Marks & Spencer
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Merlin Entertainments Group Limited
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • MySpace.com
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • National Portrait Gallery
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Oakwood Leisure Ltd
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Pleasure Island Family Theme Park
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Pleasurewood Hills Theme Park
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Research in Motion Uk Ltd.
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • T-Mobile (UK) Ltd
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Tesco Plc
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • The British Museum
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • The National Gallery
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • The Tussauds Group
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Thorpe Park
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Twitter, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Victoria and Albert Museum
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Virgin Media Ltd
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Virgin Mobile
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Vodafone Group Plc (UK)
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Waitrose
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Wm Morrison Supermarkets
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • YouTube, Inc.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Theme Parks - UK - February 2010

                                                                                                                                                                                                  £1,995.00 (Excl.Tax)