Has the UK escape room market slowed?

As part of bringing the exitgames.co.uk map and game list back up to date, some other data was collated which might be interesting to readers. No attempt has yet been made to do a thorough analysis of the extra information but, rather than keeping it all secret, the best option seemed to be to publish it and then let the audience ask questions to prompt further analysis. There’s no promise that the figures are 100% accurate (with rooms opening up at a rate of two to three per week, it’s unlikely to ever be truly up to date), but they are at least very close. Coincidentally, the Room Escape Artist just published analysis of their own, focusing on the American market (more or less).

With that in mind, here are two charts that show the growth of escape games in the UK and Ireland. Firstly a simple chart of escape room count, plotting their growth since 2012. Second a breakdown of the same data by the standard NUTS regions, charting rooms per million population as a crude way of allowing them to be easily compared. It’s interesting to note which markets are leading the way (NW England, Scotland and London) and hypothesise on why they might have a greater number of escape rooms per capita than elsewhere.

roomgrowth

If you’re not familiar with the term NUTS regions, don’t worry. These are just the standard way of breaking down the countries into separate parts, such as NW England, London and the East Midlands. Within those NUTS regions you can see various trends – the early growth by London, the relatively late surges in Scotland and NW England or the very late explosion in Wales.

roompercapitaperregion.png

So, back to the original question: Has the UK escape room market slowed? Based on the above, this site certainly doesn’t believe so. What do you think? What would you like to know more about? Feel free to add questions or comments below.

6 Comments

    • Hard to say for sure, but I’d guess £25 million based on the following back of the envelope calculation:
      – there are currently 569 rooms in the UK
      – those rooms are typically filled at the weekends and evenings only. I’d say, on average, 15 slots a week.
      – average room cost is probably around the £60 mark

      569 * 15 * 60 * 52 comes out at around the 25 million mark.

      That’s now. A year ago, we only had around half that many rooms, so I’d say in terms of the 2016 revenue, we’re probably talking £15-20m.

      I don’t believe anyone has published any data about it.

      Reply
  1. Hi Ken,

    Good work as always but I am not 100% sure about those figures. I am one of the 569 and I would be extremely pleased if I was getting a 1/569th slice of the £25M figure. My best guess is that filling 15 slots a week is small change for operators in the bigger cities but it is much harder to achieve in areas of lower density population. I cannot gauge what the national average might be but I think it might well be a lot larger. £25m makes it seems a very small business activity when you compare that to the likes of the broader entertainment genre apparently worth “……..£5.4 billion a year to the UK economy, new figures from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport have revealed.”

    https://www.thestage.co.uk/news/2015/performing-arts-contributes-5-4-billion-year-uk-economy/

    All of which gives me a great deal of hope that the genre will increase in terms of awareness, popularity, repeat visits and increased profitability.

    It is most definitely a good thing when I contact a prospective owner of a unique venue for one of my pop-up activities and I don’t have to explain what a locked room/escape room is, because the person taking the call has already done one.

    Reply
  2. Thanks both. I took 2 approaches to calculate this; one following Ken’s supply side approach and another following a demand side approach.

    Supply side:
    Volume [# of rooms in UK * capacity utilisation * # slots per day * # days open per week * # weeks open per year] * Price [price per person * group size]
    I broke down utilisation into peak and off-peak, and broke down price/person and group size by peak and off-peak. My estimation came in at £34.6M, based on 569 rooms, 6 slots per day, 30% off peak utilisation and 90% peak utilisation.

    Demand side:
    Volume [Population of the UK * % go out socially * % interested in social experiences % visit gaming attractions * interested in escape games * afford escape games * % converted sales * # visits per annum ]*Price [ average price]
    Came in at £28.8 M, based on following assumptions:
    UK Pop’n 65.0M
    % interested in social experiences 80%
    %visit gaming attractions 70%
    %visit in groups >2 35%
    interested in escape games 35%
    afford escape games 95%
    % converted sales 20%
    # visits per annum 2.0
    Price £17.00
    Average price per person £17.00
    UK Market Size Estimate £28.8M
    Check £28.8M

    Hope this helps.
    Humza

    Reply
  3. Hi Humza,
    Great post, really interesting!
    In terms of the demand side i just have a few questions…
    – Where did you get this data from?
    – Are we saying that 35% of the UK population are interested in escape rooms? (so about 22M). Then of those 20% actually go out and experience one? Which is 4.32m people. Then those that experience it twice a year is about 1.7m people.

    Thanks very much – Tom

    Reply

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