There are more than 50 000 gyms, 14 000 padel centers and 8 490 golf courses in Europe alone. Over the past years, with an improvement in life quality, decreasing working hours, and an increase in disposable income in European households, the European leisure industry has been growing year by year. As a result, the businesses in this sector have become vital engines for job generation and economic growth.
However, like many other industries, the leisure industry has also faced the challenges brought on by the still on-going COVID-19 pandemic. The sudden changes in consumer behavior and the national restrictions have meant that most leisure hubs have been either forced to close or they are subjected to strict rules regarding social interactions.
Although it is still hard to predict when life will return to normal, there are reasons to believe that this will happen eventually. In fact, according to Fitch Ratings, the spending on leisure activities, such as recreation and cultural activities, is projected to rise 15.3% post-COVID.
But how will the leisure industry look like post-pandemic?
With the long stay-at-home period, accumulated savings, and restricted social gathering an increase of appetite for leisure activities is expected among consumers. As leisure centers will be filled with customers, service availability and quality become key considerations. How do leisure centers ensure that customers are served in the best way possible?
On the other hand, an EY survey reported that up to 58% of consumers plan to be more cautious of their spending in the longer term. As consumers will become more price-sensitive, businesses need to strengthen their value propositions. But how to do this quickly and cost-efficiently?
Responding to these trends requires willingness to adapt and create new ways of operating. For example, new self-service technologies enable businesses to expand the level of their service in a cost-efficient way.
As an example, the fully unmanned and automated Selfly Store by Stora Enso enables leisure industry operators to:
- Extend their service hours and provide faster service during peak times without an increase in labor cost
- Improve the customer experience and revenue by selling a wide variety of products from sports equipment to fresh food and beverages in an easy, contactless, and unmanned way.
- Optimize operation through accurate, real-time data and insight on sales, inventory and customer behavior.
- Quickly and cost-efficiently respond to fluctuations in visitor numbers as life begins to return to normal
To read our view on how the leisure industry can quickly and efficiently adapt to the post-pandemic life, and to learn how Selfly Store helped a sports center develop a new service concept, we invite you to download the article ‘Reimagining the European leisure industry’.