With economies under stress, are consumers spending on entertainment?

arcadehero June 21, 2011 3

Newsfeed 1059 via The Stinger Report

It feels like forever now that economies around the world are in a state of recession/depression, with stagnant growth and worried consumers all around. It’s not the case in every country but for many it seems to have become the unfortunate norm. This makes it a tougher environment for business to thrive than normal and often the expected behavior for consumers is they will will cut back on non-essentials to hold on their money. Makes perfect logical sense but what happens when things are stagnant? People need an escape at some point. One could say that the economic difficulties eventually grind on consumers to the point that they become more willing to spend something on entertainment where they can. Being an arcade operator myself, I’ve noticed an interesting trend in our earnings – this year started out quite strong and then slowed in May, which is the opposite of where we had been in previous years. A guess of mine is the increasing energy costs (gas, electricity rates) put another obstacle in the road to eat into the income of those that have some and this has led to the slowdown. We improved our game selection in April and it’s hard to say where we would be without those games to help bring players in.

We have a story here out of Australia where the statistics are showing an interesting trend in that region. Here are some money quotes:

According to the latest Commonwealth Bank Business Sales Indicator, the amusement and entertainment category experienced the strongest lift in spending in May, up 1.4%.

This category, which includes cinemas and bowling alleys, is also one of the strongest sectors in annual terms, up 12.3%.

“The amusement and entertainment category has continued to post positive gains, as especially cold weather in May looks to have driven consumers indoors to venues including cinemas and bowling alleys.” – Matt Comyn

There’s more here if you would like to read further into it as it shows other sectors having trouble while amusement is improving. Where I’m at has had some crazy weather, mostly colder, below average temps, flooding in many areas near the mountains when there has been the occasional warm spike as well but it’s hard to say how that’s affected my overall business.

Speaking of trends, here’s a reminder for the upcoming DNA Conference that is taking place in London on July 14th. They have announced that they will include sessions on Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, and other Simulator applications for public amusement. They have been adding a number of big names as sponsors to the conference so it should be an excellent gathering and hopefully some great ideas can come out of it.


  1. Bill Masterman June 21, 2011 at 5:05 pm - Reply

    We need to move our routes to Australia! I wish bowling and cinemas would improve here. They have had a decline in our market lately.

    • editor June 22, 2011 at 10:37 am - Reply

      @ Bill – the Bowling sector and FEC sector in US is doing well with a major upswing – all part of the StayCation bounce. Just not reported that often.

  2. bingo June 22, 2011 at 11:08 pm - Reply

    If the Dave n Busters in my area is anything to go by you’d think the recession never happened. It’s always packed…

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