Romanians spend an average of EUR 8.7 a month for culture and recreation

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The entertainment offer in shopping centers is a top preference for consumers in Central and Eastern Europe.


The entertainment segment has grown massively in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) in recent years. The analysis of 13 countries (Albania, Belarus, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czechia, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Ukraine) shows that the leisure segment in shopping centers is dominated by multiplex cinemas (over 452) and fitness clubs. Czech consumers spend the most on cultural and recreational activities – EUR 38.2 per month – while Romania ranks 8th out of the 13 countries, with average monthly expenses of EUR 8.7, according to the latest report from the real estate consultancy company Colliers International.

Shopping center developers and owners are increasingly aware that an innovative and attractive entertainment offer is an indispensable part of each shopping center to counterbalance consumers’ interest in e-commerce. Typically, the entertainment area may include cinemas, fitness clubs, kids play or entertainment centers offering complex services such as bowling, dance school, escape room, mini golf, library, trampoline park, acrobatics school, music club, wrestling club.

In Romania, the average purchasing power has doubled in the last decade and has led to a significant growth in consumption, increasingly focused on entertainment. As a result, some of the newest shopping centers offer more than 20% of the gross leasable area for food court and entertainment areas, more than double compared to 10 years ago, and the trend is to keep growing, closing in on 30%. In large or mixed-use projects, this percentage may increase”, Venera Munjev, Senior Associate Retail Agency at Colliers International Romania, said.

Out of the 13 CEE countries, Czech consumers spend the most on cultural and recreational activities – EUR 38.2 per month. The Czech Republic is followed by Latvia (EUR 35.6), Slovakia (EUR 22.5) and Poland (EUR 17.9). Romania ranks 8th out of the 13 countries, with average monthly expenses of EUR 8.7.

There are two explanations for this relatively small average of spending on recreation and culture: 1) Romania has the second lowest urbanization rate in the European Union (54% of Romanians live in the city versus circa 80% in Western Europe) and 2) the average includes some of the most developed cities in this area of Europe – Bucharest, Cluj-Napoca – alongside some of the poorest in the EU. In other words, the difference between Bucharest and Warsaw or Budapest is significantly smaller than these figures suggest”, Silviu Pop, Head of Research at Colliers International Romania, added.

Cinemas and fitness clubs dominate the entertainment market in shopping centers in the CEE region

According to the Colliers report, there are over 452 cinemas and multiplexes in shopping centers in the 13 CEE countries. Poland and Romania lead the ranks, with 125 and 93 of such spaces, respectively. Based on population figures, in Poland there is a modern cinema for almost 370,000 inhabitants, while in Romania, the ratio is for 210,000 inhabitants.

Also, calculations based on the average gross salary show that, to buy a ticket to the cinema, Romanians have to work around 48 minutes. This duration is among the smallest, compared to the other 12 countries: for example, for the same purpose, the Polish work one hour and three minutes, the Czechs, one hour and five minutes, while the Albanians work the most – one hour and 48 minutes.

Romania ranks second in terms of fitness clubs (42), after Poland (115), and third in number of playgrounds for children in shopping centers (60), after Poland (128) and Ukraine (71).

In Romania, the indoor entertainment schemes remain the most targeted and most profitable ones, while outdoor leisure schemes can only be implemented in exceptional cases. The main explanation is the temperate continental climate which exposes an outdoor project to an extremely high risk, offering a maximum of 4 to 6 months per year for effective operation. Moreover, the purchasing power in Romania has not yet reached a level that can support large projects, the incidence of accessing theme parks being reduced locally, at a frequency of two or three times a year. The lack of sustained tourism is the third reason why entertainment centers operators need the partnership of shopping centers: cities such as Bucharest, Cluj, Iasi, Brasov or Constanta are partly targeted by young people who visit only during weekends, festivals or summer / winter season for specific activities”, Venera Munjev concluded.

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