Fortunately, the future looks very bright for the Australian children’s activities industry in 2021 and beyond. We can see from the feedback social media pages and conversations in Facebook parents group, that parents have really missed the industry greatly and they are keen to get their children back into classes & activities.
Family participation in activities whether they be term classes, after school activities or on the weekend such as sport, dance, swimming lessons, music, art and STEM all provide developmental benefits and social opportunities for not only the children but the parents as well. New parents, in particular, have missed the opportunity to attend parent and baby classes, which provides valuable opportunities to connect and socialise with others.
The Financial Impact
Families may have to cut back on some spending initially but history has shown that parents will leave educational cost-cutting (including children’s activities) until very last.
There are usually baby booms in recessions so there is likely to be more future babies coming into 2021 and 2022, which also supports the industry.
After so many celebrations cancelled or held on a small scale in 2020 we predict parents will be keen to celebrate big time next year and use it as a real social occasion with family and friends.
We have all advanced our knowledge in the online world with Zoom, Google hangouts and online chats becoming more infiltrated into our day to day life and work.
As the next generation of parents emerges we can predict their knowledge and expectation of technology is going to be strong. They will always have a phone on them and with that comes accessibility around the clock. They will use technology to find out about you, to communicate with you, to book services with you. It has never been more important to have a mobile responsive website, that looks good (aesthetics is important) and is easy to use.
Social media platforms provide a wide variety of marketing opportunities to activity providers but are constantly changing and reinventing themselves. Often as soon as you have your head around one, it will change over night. This generation of parents is looking to social media such as Facebook and Instagram for inspiration and reminders of what you offer. You also want to keep your business front of mind by producing engaging content for your existing families as well. Online influences will continue to be strong. Tik Tok is new on the scene and one to watch.
Grants & Funding
The number and range of grants becoming available to small businesses – from various levels of government – is at an all time high. Watch out for these.
The challenges posed during 2020 has taught businesses that they need to be prepared to be agile – to pivot where and when necessary.
We have long heard of the ever-increasing pace of change. In 2020, for example, the uptake of digital communication/entertainment platforms accelerated participation to levels not thought attainment for another 5 – 10 year. Small businesses now have simpler, more affordable access to many of these useful media.
The pandemic fast-tracked much change – some of which is now here to stay. Some more matters are now out of the control of small business owners – at best these can be managed or navigated through. Being successful in 2021 will necessitate coming to grips with – better still … embracing – matters that are now out of your control. As Futurist, Liam Mayo, recently put it:
- Learn to expect the unexpected,
- Get comfortable with being uncomfortable, and
- Dance, even when you don’t know the song.
Is your business future proof?
The standards and quality in the industry continues to improve due to best practice standards, education and training opportunities and parents expectations.
What can you do?
- Survey your parents – ask them what they want from you
- Review and strengthen your brand
- Support your team
- Find a social responsibility
- Join your industry association