Festival Fever as Customers Spend at Pop-up Stalls

July 3, 20195min

With the summer festival season in full swing following the recent sun-drenched Glastonbury, new research reveals that pop-up commerce presents a growing opportunity for businesses.

A study by Barclaycard into the spending habits of UK festival-goers, shows that those selling at live events benefiting from increased revenue, improved customer engagement, and longer lasting loyalty.

The figures show that Brits are set to spend £1.2bn shopping in festival fields this summer, with the average attendee shelling out £67 a day on food, fashion, merchandise, and testing out experiences on-site.

With purchasing decisions driven by a desire for unique products that can’t be found elsewhere (80 percent), heightened emotions (73 percent), and open-mindedness (19 percent), merchants anticipate their sales will continue to rise. In fact, those present at live events expect their revenue to increase 12 per cent over the next five years.

Almost four-in-ten (37 percent) festival-goers now favour shopping on-site compared to online or the high street, while 31 percent consider events a better place to uncover new trends. Just under half (45 percent) also prefer the unusual product offering often found when browsing pop-up stalls.

An engaged audience (81 percent), space to create a memorable brand experience (80 percent), longer dwell times (67 percent), and a thirst for discovery (28 percent) are citied as the key factors encouraging Brits to spend while on-site. Central to this is the impact that watching live entertainment has on mood and feelings, with 73 percent of festival fans admitting this makes them more receptive to trying new products or brands.

Rock on: The festival industry is worth over two billion pounds and counting

With the festival industry currently worth over £2.46bn and 36 percent of Brits planning to attend a festival this summer, live events pose an increasingly lucrative opportunity for new and established brands. To capitalise on this, the majority of merchants see festivals as fertile ground to trial new products and ideas (84 percent), with half (50 percent) testing products that they have later rolled out online or in store.

Of those that have used festivals as a testing ground, over four in five (84 percent) put this choice down to the open-mindedness of attendees, with the ability to receive direct feedback (83 percent) also ranking highly. In response, 80 percent of businesses have developed new ranges to cater for those looking for unusual and niche products.

The unique festival environment also gives increased precedence to ‘word of mouth’ recommendations, which seven-in-ten (72 percent) merchants feel is very important for consumers when deciding what to buy.

Daniel Mathieson, Head of Sponsorship at Barclaycard, said: “Pop-up commerce is thriving across the UK festival scene, as brands compete to provide the ultimate fan experience. With more ways to engage audiences alongside demand for a deeper connection to the products they try and buy, festivals are becoming a fertile ground for all kinds of businesses to grow.

“In recent years we’ve also seen festivals start to offer dedicated event spaces to brands while providing activations on-site has also become increasingly popular. As festival spending looks set to rise, my advice to UK businesses is to explore the sales and marketing opportunities the UK live entertainment scene presents, or risk losing out to more savvy competitors.”

Paul Ainsworth

Paul Ainsworth

Experienced Irish journalist and former newspaper editor now helming executive editorial duties with Customer Experience Magazine, the UK's premier online source for Customer Experience news, features, and opinion, along with its sister site, CXM World.

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