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RETAIL RENAISSANCE Part 6: The Future is Entertainment Led 4th June 2021

Introduction

At the end of the Middle Ages in Western Europe, the Renaissance emerged as an opportunity for new knowledge, techniques, and icons. Leaders were those who pushed into uncharted territory, disrupted the status quo, and created a vibrant culture of creativity and experimentation. With the UK high street decline reaching a fever pitch, it is time for a change.

A radical new vision will be required to redefine the role that high streets play in our lives.

While the future remains uncertain, people still crave enjoyment more than ever. Our recent research across leisure, retail, wellbeing, and hospitality, heightens this sentiment. Changes in consumer behaviour combined with the impact of technology and the effects of the pandemic have also rapidly affected the speed of change. Below, we explore the issues behind this retail apocalypse and the emerging solutions.


The Future is Entertainment Led

There is a vast opportunity for leisure and entertainment acting as the catalyst to reignite destinations, as 69% of customers say live experiences help them connect better with brands, friends & communities (KPMG, 2019).

With theatres closing their doors, live concerts getting cancelled and venues remaining shut, the future of leisure and entertainment remains unpredictable. However, people continue to search for ways to socialise, enjoy and entertain themselves. Pre-pandemic, there were only 3 drive-in theatres in the UK, but this figure has been soaring with 40 drive-in cinemas now open (Variety, 2020).

A data-driven experience design approach is to reignite destinations with leisure, entertainment, health, wellbeing, nightlife and creativity, acting as the catalyst to revitalise city centres, urban spaces and local communities.

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Now is the time for leisure and entertainment to re-establish its role in society, considering the lifestyles emerging from the current environment. Access to open space, places for recreation, fitness and children’s play have all become new priorities for many. Urban areas and spaces need to evolve – from concrete jungle to life-led developments. Investment in local quality of life benefits both the residents and developers, making communities more attractive for owners and tenants.

Following this, consumers are increasingly attracted to experiences that distract them from reality by immersing themselves into engaging other-worldly spaces. The ability to manufacture the sensation of “being in the moment or another world” is becoming fundamental to entertainment.

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It is clear to us that the future lies in leisure & entertainment becoming a driving force across various sectors. The fusion of categories across leisure & entertainment can create life-enriching experiences. Blending various leisure and entertainment categories allows for a more diversified customer journey which elevates the experience by making it more leisure-led rather than purpose-led. These multi-sector journeys and propositions will become the principal guide to leisure-focused destinations.


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