Who’s winning in what auditor PwC calls consumers’ “love affair with small indulgences”? Well, ice-cream shops, for one, a sector it says grew 20 per cent in 2018. Like booksellers and coffee shops, it’s one of only a few “sweet spots” bucking the high street’s overall decline. From pastel-hued Shugaa in Bangkok to Melbourne’s industrial-chic Piccolina Gelateria, these new-wave dessert bars blend Insta-smart interiors with a bit of food theatre and adventurous flavours. Though seemingly at odds with today’s wellness trend, these sweet treats tap into cultural shifts in socialising, says Kais Niaz, owner of UK chain Afters Original, which caters particularly to young Muslims. “Before, people who didn’t drink had limited places to go socially; it can get boring going to the cinema every week [so] this was a replacement.” PwC analyst Lisa Hooker sums up: For “experience-seeking millennials” craving innovative, affordable, Instagrammable treats, ice cream ticks all the boxes.