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Pandemic Forces Amusement Operators to Change Purchasing Plans, Firestone Survey Says
Operators optimistic about the future of the Attractions Industry
In one of the first industry surveys since COVID-19 essentially shutdown the amusement businesses, carnival companies seem to be cautiously optimistic and willing to adjust business outlooks to conform to the measures necessary to open during the Pandemic.
Firestone Financial, a subsidiary of Berkshire Bank, one of the leading national finance companies serving midway providers, carnival companies, amusement parks, and entertainment centers, conducted a survey of its customers as an attempt to take a snapshot of the industry at this very critical juncture – a season has nearly entirely been lost and what will need to be done to ensure the 2021 season optimizes revenue as the industry and the economy continues to reopen.
In September 2020, Firestone distributed its survey to past and current amusement, location-based entertainment, and vending customers of Firestone Financial, as well as others in the attractions industry. 132 businesses responded to the survey.
The results may not contain startling findings, but the apparent trends seem to inspire some trepidation. The majority of customers continue to plan to purchase new equipment, but those purchases will be determined by a variety of factors due to the global pandemic. One of the most distinct trends is that the customers are planning to bypass industry conventions and tradeshows for the foreseeable future as part of the market research and purchasing process.
Survey highlights include:
65 percent (of respondents) plan to purchase equipment for their business over the next 12 months.
47 percent plan to finance up to $50k in the next 12 months.
Due to COVID-19, 45 percent of respondents indicated they are no longer making planned purchases.
59 percent do not plan to attend any in-person trade show events in 2020 or 2021*
*Note: that this survey was conducted just after IAAPA Expo announced that it would cancel its 2020 convention and prior to the IISF's announcement that the Gibtown Trade Show will continue in 2021.