Younger households worried about their finances after Brexit vote, Greene King Leisure Spend Tracker reveals

Households are still spending more on leisure, but younger consumers a worried about their future fi

Households are still spending more on leisure, but younger consumers a worried about their future finances following the vote for Brexit. - Credit: Archant

Britain’s households increased their spend on leisure activities last month, but many are concerned about the future impact on their finances from the vote to leave the European Union.

The latest Leisure Spend Tracker survey, conducted monthly on behalf of Bury St Edmunds-based pubs and brewing group Greene King, found that the average British household spent £209.03 on out-of-home leisure during July, 2% up compared with the same month a year ago and also marginally higher than in June this year.

The Eating Out category continued to lead the way, with the average household spending £91.35 during the month, an 8% increase year-on-year and 3% up compared with June.

The month-on-month increase was driven by a 19% rise in spending by households including children as families dined out more following the start of the school holidays.

Drinking Out also registered growth, with the average household spend of £47.18 representing a 7% increase compared with a year earlier and 1% growth on the June total.

Again the increase compared with June was driven by families, with households including children increasing their spend by 32% month-on-month while those without children trimmed their spend by 9%.

In the Other Leisure category, the average household spend of £70.50 during July was down 9% compared with a year ealier and also 3% lower than in June.

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The month-on-month decline was driven by a reduced spend on live events following the end of the football season, including the Euro 2016 championship, and a decline in gambling.

In addition to the regular survey, each month’s study focuses on a particular area of consumer sentiment or behaviour, with the July report revealing concern among households in the wake of Britain’s vote for Brexit in the June referendum.

A third of respondents (33%) said they expect their household’s financial situation to be worse off this time next year, while only 8% see an improvement in their prospects. This is especially true amongst younger adults, with 35% of 18- to 34-year-olds admitting to be worried about their future finances.

There was also concern about the wider UK economy, with almost half (47%) of respondents stating that they believe it will contract in the next year. Again, this was most keenly felt among younger adults, with 62% of 18- to 24-year-olds and 53% of 25- to 34-year-olds expecting the economy to decline.

These percentages were notably higher than that of over-55-year-olds, reflecting other polls on the pattern of voting by different age groups in the referendum.

“While economists debate the likelihood of the UK entering into recession toward the end of the year, it is clear that many households are nervous about the prospect, with 41% of respondents expecting their personal finances to worsen if the economy was to go through a sustained downturn,” the report says.

Rob Rees, Greene King’s group marketing director, said: “This month’s Greene King Leisure Spend Tracker reveals that the uncertainty created by Brexit is worrying Brits of all ages.

“The impact of Brexit on personal finances is a concern but, in fact, UK adults are more pessimistic about the prospects of the wider economy and the potential threat of recession later this year.”

He added: “In the shorter term, with the school holidays now well underway, the leisure sector will still have its fingers crossed for a positive summer as households with kids seek to enjoy the time off and the sunshine.”

Paul Flatters, chief executive of Trajectory, which compiles the Leisure Spend Tracker, said: “With July representing the first full month since the UK’s historic decision to leave the European Union, this month’s report gives us the first opportunity to assess the immediate impact of the referendum on leisure spending in the UK.

“Our special focus this month suggests that there may be trouble ahead, as consumers do not expect the economy to perform well over the next year and fear that a recession would affect their own finances.”