Globalisation: Shrinking world, growing opportunities

children trick or treating representing the globalisation expansion of leisure events

Globalisation continues to offer new opportunities. Leisure events that start in one nation and then go global offer new revenue streams for those entrepreneurs who can spot the trends…

Many commentators put this year’s somewhat disappointing Easter retail sales down to bad weather. The high impact of a factor both unpredictable and impervious to control shows just how dangerous it is for retailers or manufacturers to put all their eggs in one basket. But the developing trend for ‘globalised leisure’ offers a solution.

Globalisation and globalised leaisure

Driven by the web, which has removed many geographical barriers to culture and commerce, Britons are gaining more non-UK experiences, from food and sport to media and retail, and are heartily embracing them. This is proving true of other overseas leisure – and sales – occasions too.

Trick-or-treating for instance – a rarity in the UK when I was a child – is now part of the calendar. As a result, Halloween, which had lagged well behind Valentine’s and Mother’s Day, is retailers’ third-biggest sales event of the year. As recently as 2001, it was worth just £12m annually. By last year that was up around 3,000 per cent to more than £300m. Even better, Halloween doesn’t cannibalise revenue from the likes of Valentine’s Day: it’s incremental. Last year’s Black Friday had mixed success (and did partially affect Christmas sales) but in just two years it’s become an accepted event. Smarter strategies – especially in relation to Christmas sales – will see it really succeed in 2016.

It doesn’t end there. The wider world offers a host of future opportunities for the sharp-eyed. For instance, if we were to embrace the kite-flying picnics so common during Mexico’s Day of the Dead festival, that would be good news for the UK’s toy and food industries alike. With last year’s Single’s Day proving China’s most successful sales event ever, its introduction could be profitable here, too. The Japanese custom of giving chocolates to platonic friends on Valentine’s Day could boost our mid-February revenues. The list is almost endless, limited only by what might interest or inspire future British consumers.

From now on globalisation won’t just give British businesses the opportunity to export more; globalised leisure trends will also offer further occasions to sell to consumers back home.

Read more from William Higham

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2016 predictions: The year of tech/life balance

About author

William Higham

William Higham

William Higham is the founder and CEO of consumer trends consultancy Next Big Thing.

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