What’s in store for 2024 when it comes to the sport and leisure industry?
We looked into our crystal ball, assessing changing consumer perceptions, technological advancements, and cultural and societal shifts.
And these are the seven curated themes, trends and hot topics that are likely to be playing a big part in shaping the UK industry in the year ahead…
Greenwashing of sport has been rife the last few years, with big brands and even countries signing up to grand sponsorship and takeover deals. Yet the impact on the planet still seeks to be the number one pressing component for 2024 decision making.
Sustainability and improving business operations remains a top priority in the industry. In 2024, we can expect brands rallying new initiatives to reduce environmental impacts, including green construction practices, eco-friendly sports equipment, and carbon-neutral events.
Consumers are increasingly expecting eco-conscious choices - even being willing to pay more for better practices - which will further drive innovation in this area.
Esports continuing to thrive
The popularity of esports continues to soar, with more and more brands jumping aboard and investing in this area too.
The UK's esports scene is already impressive, and is expected to expand, seeing more organised tournaments, teams, and esports-focused venues.
With competitive video gaming becoming more and more mainstream, there’s the opportunity to draw in a broader and more diverse audience.
Higher adoption of virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR) experiences
The integration of virtual and augmented reality into the sports and leisure sector is set to grow in 2024. These technologies offer immersive experiences, from virtual fitness classes to augmented reality-guided outdoor adventures.
Specifically, we should expect to see more gyms, entertainment venues, and sports teams incorporating VR and AR elements to engage and excite consumers in a more digitally focused way.
Wellness beyond fitness
Wellness is a very hot topic that will continue to be a big movement in 2024. And it’s now branching out beyond fitness and diet.
Mental health and mindfulness practices will be fully integrated into sport and leisure offerings - seeing the expansion of things like meditation sessions, stress-relief workshops, and holistic wellness retreats.
AI-driven personalisation and data analytics
Spearheaded by the AI boom, health personalisation is on the rise and likely to be a big player in the coming years.
Whether it's custom workout plans, personalised nutrition recommendations, or tailored sports merchandise, data analytics and AI will play a pivotal role in delivering unique and bespoke experiences to consumers based on their habits and lifestyle choices.
Remote work and leisure integration
As remote or hybrid work becomes more prevalent and even the norm, people are seeking ways to integrate work and leisure seamlessly.
Flexible co-working spaces with fitness facilities, gaming areas or leisure activities will be opening up, enabling more people to suitably balance productivity and relaxation, all within one roof.
With mainstream sports events becoming increasingly expensive and exclusive, people are turning to local and community-based sports and leisure activities to get their sporting fix.
Expect to see more emphasis on local sports teams, neighbourhood fitness clubs, and small-scale events that build community bonds.
Businesses are seeing sponsorship of such events and teams as a great way to build stronger engagement with a more local audience.
Despite going into 2024 with economic uncertainty, the UK’s sport and leisure industry is set for an exciting year ahead.
Technology, sustainability, inclusivity and consumer demands continue to influence the business landscape. And sport and leisure brands have a vital role to play in continuing to innovate and craft engaging experiences for their customers.
We’re certainly excited to be keeping an eye on these trends, and seeing how they unfold in the coming year!