Greene King Leisure Spend Tracker reveals cut-back in nation’s festive spending plans

Britons are planning to spend less on presents and eating out this Christmas, according to a Greene

Britons are planning to spend less on presents and eating out this Christmas, according to a Greene King survey. - Credit: Contributed

Britons are planning to spend less on gifts and eating out this Christmas compared with last year, according to a seasonal edition of Greene King’s monthly Leisure Spend Tracker report.

Average household speding on leisure declined for a second consecutive month during October, with total spending on all types of leisure falling by 10% compared with the same month last year to £188.?

The decline was driven by the “Other Leisure” category, which includes areas such as live events and gym membership, where spending fell by 22% year-on-year to £69.72 as households across the country cut back to ease pressure on their finances.

In contrast, spending on Drinking Out fell by a more modest 8% compared with October 2013, to £41.41, and Eating Out saw a 2% increase, with average spending rising to £76.86.

The growth in Eating Out was mainly driven by households outside of London and the South East, with the figure in and around the capital rising at only a fifth of the rate seen elsewhere in the UK. The cut-back in spending on other types of leisure was also more pronounced in London and the South East.

To gauge how consumers are feeling in the lead up to Christmas, the survey asked an additional question on whether they intend to spend more or less on festivities this year. and the result shows that, on average, Britons plan to spend less on presents and on eating and drinking out compared to last year.

Steve Jebson, commercial director at Greene King, which is a member of the EADT/EDP Top 100 listing of the 100 largest companies in Suffolk and Norfolk, said: “It has been another tough month for leisure spend, falling 10% compared to October last year. With Christmas just around the corner, Brits yet again limited their leisure spend last month. And, with consumer confidence still fragile, it is not surprising that many are hesitant to loosen the purse strings.

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“We saw that households in London and the South East reduced their spend more than elsewhere – down 16% compared to 7% in the rest of Britain. This could be due to the recent slowdown in the London property market, which may have temporarily hit the confidence of households in the capital.

“But, London and the South East still remains the biggest spending region with £214 spent on total leisure in October, over 21% more than the average for the rest of GB.”

He added: “We found that 26% of Brits plan to spend less on Christmas gifts this year, compared to 17% who plan to spend more. This trend is also reflected in the amount expected to be spent on eating and drinking out with 27% intending to spend less and 15% who expect to spend more.

“However, there was greater balance in projected spend on food and drink in the home, with 21% planning to spend more versus 20% who intend to spend less.”