Get the rub on Competitive Socialising

competitive socialising
7th August 2020Research & Insights

At SHUFL, we’re experts in Competitive Socialising, so here’s our take on it:

 What is Competitive Socialising?

You’ve more than likely heard the phrase ‘competitive socialising’ being bandied around in the past year or so.

Competitive socialising has become a catch-all for a new breed of entertainment experiences in leisure and hospitality environments such as pubs, bars or even retail destinations, which are not solely centred on eating and drinking. To be specific, we’re talking about shuffleboard, ping-pong, beer pong, foosball, crazy golf and axe-throwing, to name a few.  It’s a fast-paced, entrepreneurial sector, where operators and suppliers are establishing brands that are enjoying rapid growth and are profiting from increased customer demand.


What’s driving the rise in Competitive Socialising?

OK, so the idea of going out to play a game is not a completely new concept.  We’ve been here before with traditional pub games and leisure activities like pool, snooker, darts and bowling.  Except, now we’re seeing an explosion of venues dedicated to competitive socialising activities, a trend that’s not only confined to the hospitality sector but is also being seen in retail destinations.  So, what’s changed?

What’s changed is market demand. It always comes back to the customer. Next generation customers want new experiences, which add to their personal story. They’re health conscious, they drink less alcohol, they are digital natives and they actively seek out memory-making experiences.  Competitive socialising offers non-alcohol centred nights out and real-life, interactive fun that gets them off their phones and offers them something they can’t get at home.   Throw in the fact that we all spend less on stuff and more on experiences and you can see why competitive socialising is such a growth sector.

The other major factor in this culture shift in the leisure market is that the increased demand has given rise to a new breed of games, where technology and innovation have made them more appealing to the consumer and more profitable for the operator.

Take shuffleboard, for instance: the standard game has been around for some time now, however advances in the quality of the tables and the way they are engineered has led to the game evolving significantly. The unique curved playing surface of a SHUFL table is a relatively recent addition that massively enhances the gameplay experience.  It maximises player enjoyment, increasing game duration and dwell time, as well as food and beverage sales in a venue. It also increases footfall, brings buzz to a venue and diversifies operator income streams.  It’s a realistic way for operators to appeal to next generation customers and is making the difference when it comes to the bottom-line.  So, it’s a win-win for operators and customers.


Why is Competitive Socialising so popular?

Competitive socialising brings a whole new dimension to the dreaded office party or a first date night.  It is, quite simply, a great ice-breaker, a shared experience that gives people something in common, making it easy for everyone to interact.  The nature of the new generation of games also means that everyone can play regardless of their age, experience, sex or ability.

Ironically, while it gets people off their phones, it also appeals to our digital compulsion to furnish our social media feeds with engaging content – and competitive socialising provides some of the best.


Interested in shuffleboard for your competitive socialising venue? Get in touch to find out why we’re the partner for you.

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