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Everything you need to make the right decisions

Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the Competitive Socialising market, and the behaviours, preferences and habits of the consumer.

Mintel has the answers you’re looking for

What are the key challenges facing the industry? Who is the consumer and what do they want? Where are the opportunities, where are the risks and what lies ahead?

Key points included

  • Targeting the most valuable consumers
  • Balancing the digital with the physical

Covered in this report

The industry is becoming increasingly divided as emerging concepts focus on attracting Millennial crowds with updated versions of classic activities. This presents challenges for established operators, which must modernise their offering to match these modern venues, and other late-night entertainment venues competing for footfall.


Integration of technology to enhance the social experience will be key to attracting a solid consumer base. The race is on for operators to become leaders in their respective activities.

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

Written by Lauren Ryan, a leading analyst in the Leisure sector, her extensive knowledge delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

The UK competitive socialising market is evolving rapidly due to strong consumer appetite for unique and challenging experiences. Updated takes on classic activities are pushing the industry forward, with plenty of innovation still to come. Established brands need to strengthen their proposition to compete with emerging adult-only concepts, which are looking to become all-in-one entertainment hubs Lauren Ryan
Leisure Analyst

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What's included

What's included

Table of contents

Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Products covered in this Report
      • Executive Summary

          • The market
            • Tenpin bowling still striking
              • Figure 1: Market size and forecast for the UK tenpin bowling market, 2013-23
            • Number of escape rooms booming
              • Franchise model supports rapid brand expansion
                • Go karting tops price for both single players and groups
                  • Figure 2: Average price to play a single game^, by key industry player^^, August 2019
                • Decline of the high street
                  • Experiences the new social currency
                    • The changing night out
                      • Companies and brands
                        • Hollywood Bowl retains market lead
                          • Clue HQ dominates emerging escape room market
                            • Roxy Ballroom established across the north
                              • Social Entertainment Ventures announces new bingo concept
                                • Flight Club to launch new shuffleboard concept
                                  • The consumer
                                    • Competitive socialising driven by young people
                                      • Figure 3: Participation in competitive socialising activities in last 12 months^, by gender and age, July 2019
                                    • Tenpin, crazy golf and pub games most popular … for now
                                      • Figure 4: Participation in competitive socialising activities, July 2019
                                    • Escape room participation expected to rise
                                      • Sports clubs and leisure centres most visited …
                                        • … but retail locations expected to increase in popularity
                                          • Figure 5: Locations visited for leisure/social activities, July 2019
                                        • Family first for parents …
                                          • … with Millennials preferring friendly fun
                                            • Figure 6: Companions while participating in leisure/social activities, July 2019
                                          • Go karting a one-off and most expensive
                                            • Figure 7: Perceptions of competitive socialising activities, July 2019
                                          • Quality of facilities and equipment key for satisfaction
                                            • Figure 8: Key drivers of overall satisfaction with leisure/social activity, September 2019
                                          • Food and drink weakest aspect of experience
                                            • New concepts still in early stages of development
                                              • Figure 9: Activities interested in participating in the future, July 2019
                                            • What we think
                                            • Issues and Insights

                                              • Targeting the most valuable consumers
                                                • The facts
                                                  • The implications
                                                    • Balancing the digital with the physical
                                                      • The facts
                                                        • The implications
                                                        • The Market – What You Need to Know

                                                          • Tenpin bowling still striking
                                                            • Number of escape rooms booming
                                                              • Franchise model supports rapid brand expansion
                                                                • Decline of the high street
                                                                  • Experiences the new social currency
                                                                    • Rise of the digital detox
                                                                      • The changing night out
                                                                      • Market Overview

                                                                        • Tenpin bowling still striking
                                                                          • Figure 10: Market size and forecast for the UK tenpin bowling market, 2013-23
                                                                        • Number of escape rooms booming
                                                                          • Record number of table tennis participants
                                                                            • Go karting most expensive activity price
                                                                              • Figure 11: Average price for one person to play a single game^, by key industry player^^, August 2019
                                                                            • Table tennis best value for groups
                                                                                • Figure 12: Average price for four person group to play a single game^, by key industry player^^, August 2019
                                                                              • Franchise model supports rapid brand expansion
                                                                                • Market growing for venues renting gaming equipment
                                                                                • Market Drivers

                                                                                  • Decline of the high street
                                                                                    • Figure 13: Change in UK retail footfall, by location, January 2016-December 2018
                                                                                  • Experiences the new social currency
                                                                                    • Rise of the digital detox
                                                                                      • The changing night out
                                                                                        • Resurgence of ‘wet-led’ venues
                                                                                        • Companies and Brands – What You Need to Know

                                                                                          • Hollywood Bowl retains market lead
                                                                                            • Clue HQ dominates emerging escape room market
                                                                                              • Roxy Ballroom established across the north
                                                                                                • Sports Direct acquires Belong gaming arenas in experiential retail move
                                                                                                  • Social Entertainment Ventures announces new bingo concept
                                                                                                    • Flight Club to launch new shuffleboard concept
                                                                                                    • Key Players

                                                                                                      • Tenpin bowling
                                                                                                        • Hollywood Bowl
                                                                                                          • Figure 14: Hollywood Bowl Group estimated site numbers, region, offer, revenue and outlook, August 2019
                                                                                                        • Other key players
                                                                                                          • Crazy golf
                                                                                                            • Mr Mulligan’s
                                                                                                              • Figure 15: Mr Mulligan’s estimated site numbers, region, offer, revenue and outlook, August 2019
                                                                                                            • Other key players
                                                                                                              • Escape room and against-the-clock experiences
                                                                                                                • Clue HQ
                                                                                                                  • Figure 16: Clue HQ estimated site numbers, region, offer, revenue and outlook, August 2019
                                                                                                                • Other key players
                                                                                                                  • Go karting
                                                                                                                    • Team Sport
                                                                                                                      • Figure 17: Team Sport estimated site numbers, region, offer, revenue and outlook, August 2019
                                                                                                                    • Other key players
                                                                                                                      • Table tennis
                                                                                                                        • Roxy Ballroom
                                                                                                                          • Figure 18: Roxy Ballroom estimated site numbers, region, offer, revenue and outlook, August 2019
                                                                                                                        • Other key players
                                                                                                                          • Darts
                                                                                                                            • Flight Club
                                                                                                                              • Figure 19: Flight Club estimated site numbers, region, offer, revenue and outlook, August 2019
                                                                                                                            • Other key players
                                                                                                                              • Shuffleboard
                                                                                                                                • SHUFL
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 20: SHUFL estimated site numbers, region, offer, revenue and outlook, August 2019
                                                                                                                                • Other key players
                                                                                                                                • Launch Activity and Innovation

                                                                                                                                  • Merlin adds escape room to Blackpool Tower
                                                                                                                                    • Social Entertainment Ventures set to launch HiJingo!
                                                                                                                                      • Crazy golf acquisition proves positive for The Brighton Pier Group
                                                                                                                                        • Game Retail acquired by Sports Direct in experiential retail move
                                                                                                                                          • Red Bull holds first Escape Room World Championship in London
                                                                                                                                            • Flight Club announces shuffleboard concept in Canary Wharf
                                                                                                                                            • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                                                                                                              • Competitive socialising driven by young people
                                                                                                                                                • Tenpin, crazy golf and pub games most popular … for now
                                                                                                                                                  • Escape room participation expected to rise
                                                                                                                                                    • Sports clubs and leisure centres most visited
                                                                                                                                                      • Retail locations behind but expected to increase
                                                                                                                                                        • Family first for parents
                                                                                                                                                          • Quality of facilities and equipment key for satisfaction
                                                                                                                                                            • Food and drink weakest aspect of experience
                                                                                                                                                              • New concepts still in early stages of development
                                                                                                                                                              • Overall Participation in Competitive Socialising

                                                                                                                                                                • Competitive socialising driven by young people
                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 21: Participation in competitive socialising activities in last 12 months^, by gender and age, July 2019
                                                                                                                                                                • Parents play too, especially dads
                                                                                                                                                                  • Popular across all of the UK, but city-dwellers dominate recent activity
                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 22: Participation in competitive socialising activities^, by residing area, July 2019
                                                                                                                                                                • Activity Participation

                                                                                                                                                                  • Old classics still frontrunners
                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 23: Participation in competitive socialising activities, July 2019
                                                                                                                                                                  • Table-based activities popular in the last year
                                                                                                                                                                    • Go karting a male favourite
                                                                                                                                                                      • One quarter have tried escape rooms but expected to increase
                                                                                                                                                                        • Shuffleboard about to take off
                                                                                                                                                                        • Activity Venues and Locations

                                                                                                                                                                          • Sports clubs and leisure centres most visited
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 24: locations visited for leisure/social activities, July 2019
                                                                                                                                                                          • Retail locations behind but expected to increase
                                                                                                                                                                            • Holiday parks a family favourite
                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 25: Locations visited for leisure/social activities, by activities participated in, July 2019
                                                                                                                                                                            • Darts and pool still a pub staple
                                                                                                                                                                            • Leisure Companions

                                                                                                                                                                              • Family comes first
                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 26: Companions while participating in leisure/social activities, July 2019
                                                                                                                                                                              • Young people are going with friends …
                                                                                                                                                                                • … while older people go with their partner
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 27: Companions while participating in leisure/social activities, by generation, July 2019
                                                                                                                                                                                • More can be done to attract work groups
                                                                                                                                                                                • Perception of Activities

                                                                                                                                                                                  • Escape rooms difficult but best for team building
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 28: Perceptions of leisure/social activities, July 2019
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Go karting a one-off and most expensive
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 29: Correspondence Analysis of words/phrases most associated with activities, July 2019
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Tenpin bowling winning over both big and small groups
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Crazy golf most family-friendly
                                                                                                                                                                                      • Shuffleboard lacks consumer awareness
                                                                                                                                                                                      • Satisfaction with Competitive Socialising Elements

                                                                                                                                                                                        • Quality of facilities and equipment key for satisfaction
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 30: Satisfaction with elements of activity experience, July 2019
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Venue atmosphere vital for positive experience
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 31: Key drivers of overall satisfaction with leisure/social activity, September 2019
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Food and drink a major weak point
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Activity length just right
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Future Interest in Competitive Socialising Activities

                                                                                                                                                                                            • Old favourites still have the highest interest
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 32: Future interest in participating in competitive socialising activities, July 2019
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Go karting has people racing back
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 33: Activities participated in, by activities interested in participating in the future, July 2019
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Bingo intriguing for 30-somethings
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Young men most interested in axe throwing
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Appendix – Data Sources, Abbreviations and Supporting Information

                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Abbreviations
                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Consumer research methodology
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Key driver analysis methodology
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 34: Overall satisfaction with Leisure/Social activity – key driver output, September 2019
                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Interpretation of results
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 35: Overall satisfaction with Leisure/Social activity - key driver output, September 2019
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 36: Satisfaction with Leisure/Social activity, September 2019
                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Correspondence analysis methodology
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 37: Perceptions of leisure/social activities, July 2019

                                                                                                                                                                                                      This market report provides in-depth analysis and insight supported by a range of data. At the same time, introductory and top-level content is provided to give you an overview of the issues covered.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Market

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                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Consumer

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Mintel's proprietary consumer research provides our analysts with the attitudinal and behavioral data used to provide valuable insight to topical issues.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Brand/Company

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Mintel provides overviews of the top brands and manufacturers, and uses consumer research to explore attitudes and reactions to brands, as well as insight into what will resonate with consumers.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Data

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