Participation in leisure activities has grown in importance since the industrial revolution in Great Britain, which had a significant impact on culture, not to mention social and economic conditions. Since then, working conditions have improved dramatically within the UK, while working hours have reduced, thus allowing people to set aside more time for leisure activities.
This report will discuss leisure activities as defined and categorised by National Statistics’ Classification of Individual Consumption by Purpose (COICOP) system. Using this system, the market has been divided into six main categories, including audio-visual, photographic and information-processing equipment; other major durables for recreation and culture; other recreational items and equipment, gardens and pets; recreational and cultural services; newspapers books and stationery; and restaurants, cafés, etc.
According to Key Note estimates, as based on figures from National Statistics, consumer expenditure on leisure activities stood at £172.35bn in 2011 (in terms of current prices), up by 3% from the previous year. Although the recession had some effect on leisure expenditure in 2009, when it fell by 4.2%, it has since continued to grow, with the recreational and cultural services and restaurants, cafés, etc. sectors observing the strongest growth in both 2010 and 2011. This is likely to continue in 2012, when London plays host to the Olympic Games, thus providing a significant boost to travel and tourism within the capital city. Furthermore, the large investment that has been allocated towards the Statford area of London in preparation for the Olympics should have a legacy effect on tourism within the locality.
Another area of the industry that is likely to do well if the economic recovery should continue is the audio-visual, photographic and information-processing equipment sector. The popularity of entertainment technology has increased substantially over the past decade, boosted by the constant stream of new product developments (NPDs) and innovations that have been launched on the market. Since 2010, when Apple launched its first iPad, a range of tablet computers have hit the market, with competitors quick to cash in on Apple’s success. Indeed the popularity of tablets, along with mobile phones, has driven the mobile gaming market in recent years. The ability of mobiles and tablets to stream music and download films, along with other content, has also provided a boost to this area of the leisure activities market, while digital sales of books, music and films have soared over the past few years. However, this may have a negative effect on the video gaming market, which is likely to suffer as more and more people turn to mobile gaming as a more convenient and often cheaper alternative. As a result, console manufacturers have had to become more inventive, offering more than just video games in order to attract consumers, e.g. by providing Internet access via the console, thus allowing users to download content directly to their video gaming device.
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Trends in Leisure Activities 2012 – Market Assessment
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