Is Staying In the New Going Out? Shifting Recreational Trends in Credit


2020 was the year of the homebody. While those preferring the great indoors may have relished a government-mandated excuse to stay at home over the weekends, social butterflies and live entertainment enthusiasts struggled during months of enforced lockdowns. But how did the longer-term credit fortunes of jigsaw makers and theatre producers compare before COVID – and is a shift in leisure habits likely to persist?

With live music, mass sporting events and other leisure services curtailed for many months, consumers were forced to pursue new forms of personal entertainment and recreation. Sales of home gym equipment skyrocketed in 2020, with exercise bikes increasing in popularity by 2000% in the UK. Spending on video games grew to $56.9bn in 2020 in the US, a 27% increase from 2019.

This COVID-prompted shift towards personal leisure and recreation activities bucks a longer-term trend in the opposite direction. The growth of ‘experiences’ has been fuelled in part by the rise of social media, and from the status afforded to those boasting a life well lived – in preference to the accumulation of things. As noted in a Deloitte study on UK leisure consumers in 2019, ‘…spending on things to do has grown so much faster than spending on things to own.’

This preference for experiences and live entertainment is reflected in the consensus credit trend of North American and European Recreational Services companies over the past 5 years [please continue below to access full report].

Figure 1: Credit Trend – Recreational Services

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    Credit Benchmark brings together internal credit risk views from over 40 leading global financial institutions. The contributions are anonymized, aggregated, and published in the form of consensus ratings and aggregate analytics to provide an independent, real-world perspective of credit risk. Risk and investment professionals at banks, insurance companies, asset managers and other financial firms use the data for insights into the unrated, monitoring and alerting within their portfolios, benchmarking, assessing and analyzing trends, and fulfilling regulatory requirements and capital.