What you need to know

Leisure expenditures are expected to grow at nearly the same rate as overall US expenditures through 2020 as confidence remains high and as consumers become more experience oriented; however, several demographic and lifestyle shifts are expected to alter perceptions of leisure time and change consumer behavior. As the traditional 9-5 work schedule becomes less standard, companies should expect consumers to seek out quick tastes of leisure that fit their erratic schedules. This is especially true for women, who still spend more time than men on chores and childcare. Activities that help these consumers to unwind while balancing their need to work toward life goals should do well with these consumers, as should activities that are highly social or require a great deal of interconnectivity.


The terms leisure time and free time are used interchangeably throughout the report to refer to time outside of work, childcare, errands, household chores, and sleep. This includes leisure time spent both outside and inside the home, though the report focuses largely on out-of-home activities. Travel and travel related activities are not included in this report, with the exception of destinations or activities that draw both tourists and locals, such as museums and amusement parks.

The market size for this report includes expenditures on select recreational goods and recreational services as classified by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA).

The recreational goods segment includes the following:

  • Sporting equipment, supplies, guns, and ammunition;

  • Bicycles and accessories;

  • Recreational books;

  • Musical instruments;

  • Games, toys, and hobbies; and

  • Film and photographic supplies.

The recreational services segment includes the following:

  • Membership clubs and participant sports centers;

  • Amusement parks, campgrounds, and related recreational services;

  • Admissions to specified spectator amusements;

  • Museums and libraries;

  • Cable and satellite television and radio services;

  • Casino gambling;

  • Lotteries;

  • Package tours; and

  • Maintenance and repair of recreational sports equipment.

The following BEA categories are excluded from the market size, though they may be discussed elsewhere in the report:

  • Video and audio equipment;

  • Photographic equipment;

  • Personal computers and peripheral equipment;

  • Computer software and accessories;

  • Calculators, typewriters, and other information processing equipment;

  • Motorcycles, pleasure boats, pleasure aircrafts, or other recreational vehicles;

  • Pets and related products/services;

  • Flowers, seeds, and potted plants;

  • Newspapers and periodicals;

  • Photo processing and photo studios;

  • Repair of audio-visual, photographic, and information processing equipment;

  • Video media rental; and

  • Pari-mutuel net receipts.

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