Mannequins and fake masked audience placards are placed at the Taoyuan Baseball stadium before the ... [+]
Mannequins and fake masked audience placards are placed at the Taoyuan Baseball stadium before the opening match for the Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL) in Taoyuan on April 11, 2020. – The match was called off due to the heavy rain. (Photo by Alex Lee / AFP)

Mannequins are not just vehicles for the fashion industry to showcase their creations, they communicate more than we might think about attitudes, and encourage onlookers to imaginatively identify with what they see. They are now poised to take over the sports world and even fine dining, because fake fans are in style right now. Fact.MR estimates the global sales of mannequins will exceed $13 billion in revenues by 2022, it’s possible for this number to go even higher due to the coronavirus pandemic’s influence on social distancing. 

The Breakdown You Need To Know: Since several major brick and mortar retail stores are closing, and many businesses having to operate at reduced capacities, CultureBanx found that mannequins have been given a new life line. Typically, when you see restaurants or stadiums with very few people, one immediately questions whether or not the food, or the team is any good. However, there are some restaurants that are turning to mannequins to make you feel less alone by putting them at open tables, but they can sometimes cost around $600 each. “That’s a lot to invest in fake customers and may not be sustainable for restaurant owners, said Mannequin Madness CEO, Judi Henderson. 

Faux Sports Fans: The faux-fan movement may also be taking over the sports world. In places like South Korea both cardboard and traditional mannequins have taken the place of people in the stands at professional baseball games. Perhaps the NBA, NFL and MLB may want to add a few of these socially distanced mannequin fans to their arenas as well. According to a report by accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, gate revenue for the North American sports market grossed $19.2 billion in 2018, and is projected to increase to $21.8 billion in 2023. So even though mannequin fans are a novel idea, it won’t help teams make money.

There are also several other ways the mannequin industry plans to survive the pandemic and the retail apocalypse, by diversifying the types offered. As many more people look to the internet to sell products, the so-called “Ghost Mannequin” has been a top seller for places like Mannequin Madness. “Businesses are also looking to incorporate mannequins in ways that we never thought of using them before, as people long for interaction,” said Henderson.

Situational Awareness: So much is in flux for companies with in-person revenue at risk and using mannequins could help customers aspire to be at a restaurant or in the stands for their favorite team again. A period of revamping ticket monetization concepts after the pandemic is over. Will have to change for a new generation of fans, while still retaining established customers.


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