Escape Room industry: Overview and popular markets
While we have endeavored to provide extensive information on the global escape room market, due to the relatively new establishment of this market around the world, there is very little data pertaining to the global industry as a whole. However, we did find a number of relevant data points including the number of escape rooms worldwide, the key countries, average prices, the fragmentation of the escape room market and recent news. Below we provide a deep dive into our findings.
Number of Rooms & Key Countries/Markets
At the end of Q2 2017, there were more than 1800 escape rooms in the US. According to data collected since 2014, the market began with just 22 escape room locations in the US, which grew to 450 by the end of 2015, then to 1,400 by the close of 2016. This data signifies a growth of 300% year-over-year in the US.
As of July 2016, there were a total of 163 escape rooms in operation in Canada, with Ontario reporting 69 rooms.
According to data collected on 1040 escape rooms worldwide, the countries with the most escape rooms by density are European nations with Cyprus reporting one escape room per 163,000 people, Estonia with one room per 189,300 people, Hungary with one room per 267,500 people and The Netherlands with one escape room per 373,400 people. The data also indicated that Europe has the most escape rooms, when comparing continents, with three times as many rooms as in North America and Asia.
According to the EscapeRooms website, the average price for an escape room session is USD 28. Prices range from as little as USD 4 in Chennai, India and up to USD 41 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Other countries in the low price end range include Ukraine (USD 4.2), Poland (USD 7.2) and Macedonia (USD 7.4). High-end prices include Iceland (USD 38.4), Luxembourg (USD 37.3) and Norway (USD 33.4).
The escape room industry is reportedly very fragmented, with each location offering different experiences, technologies and story lines. According to a survey by EscapeRooms, the most common narrative worldwide is "Escape from the Unpleasant", followed by no narrative and a simple escape the room theme and "Engage with the Supernatural". Other variations include actors as part of the escape room story line, fitness challenges, custom electronics, high fidelity sets, internet-bought puzzles, weekend-long games in hotels and secret society-type narratives. Furthermore, narratives vary from continent to continent, with Asian escape rooms predominantly horror-theme based, while in Europe there is a preference for last century-themed scenarios. In the US, 25% of escape room players prefer a modern era scenario.
News & Developments
In March 2017, The Verge reported on the ways in which escape rooms are becoming the future of advertising. US-based companies such as FOX and HBO have used escape rooms to engage with audiences and the rooms have been popular at conferences and events such as Comic-Con and SXSW.
As reported by engadget in October 2017, car manufacturer Audi, released a special edition escape room to market its new E-Tron cars. Named the E-Tron Room, teams of three or four people search for a doctor who has disappeared and are presented with advanced mechanics, holograms, robotic arms and projection mapping. The aim was to showcase Audi's technological capabilities and provide a sneak-peek into what the company can offer in the future. Established in Barcelona, Spain, the room was free to the public and was planned to be moved to Madrid in November 2017.
Also in October 2017, the first Escape Room Industry Conference was held in Nottingham, UK. More than 150 people attended where topics discussed included escape room business management, customer service, market advice, home automation systems and future thinking for the industry. Individual guest speakers were followed by an Enthusiasts Panel where changes in the industry and puzzle favorites were discussed.