Leisure consumers keep calm and carry on spending

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Leisure spending saw marginal growth in the second quarter of 2019, with net spending up one percentage point both quarter-on-quarter and year-on-year, according to Deloitte’s latest Leisure Consumer report.

The quarterly survey of more than 3,000 UK adults found that, whilst consumers still took greater pleasure in new experiences rather than material things, they also spent more on everyday treats, such as barista-made coffee. Habitual leisure categories saw one of the highest expenditure rises this quarter, up three percentage points from Q1, and was only matched by anticipated seasonal growth in short breaks.

The long and the short of it

More consumers reported spending on both short breaks and long holidays in the second quarter of the year, up three and four percentage points, respectively, from the last quarter. However, compared to last year, consumers say they are spending less on longer holidays meaning some may have delayed their bookings until now, or opted for shorter trips.

Simon Oaten, partner for hospitality and leisure at Deloitte, commented: “Despite continued Brexit uncertainty and its impact on holidaymakers’ spending money, consumers still expect to pack up their bags and enjoy a summer holiday this year.

“For today’s consumer, experience is everything. A generation of social media-savvy consumers also continue to seek out new travel experiences to share with their online audience, and are piqued by new flight route offerings and off-the-beaten-track locations.”

But first, coffee

Consumers have spent more on attending live sports events so far this summer, up two percentage points compared to this time last year, as a greater range of sports were held and international competitions hosted closer to home.

Oaten said: “Sporting thrills and spills have been enjoyed across a variety of different sports so far this summer, from tennis and cricket to the women’s world cup, drawing a wider audience. At the same time, the atmosphere of a stadium environment has appealed more as consumers seek new experiences as sports spectators.”

However, of the 11 leisure categories measured, attending sports events fell the most on a quarter-by-quarter basis, by two percentage points, as the league football season came to an end.

At the other end of the scale, more consumers reported spending in coffee and sandwich shops, which topped quarter-on-quarter leisure spending growth by category, rising three percentage points.

Carry on spending?

Oaten concluded: “Following a strong start to the year, net leisure spending has risen marginally again this quarter. Whilst consumer confidence remained flat over the same period, strong leisure spending means consumers continue to power the economy. The question is how much longer they can continue to do so.”

Political and economic uncertainty continues to create caution in some consumers, with a third (32%) expecting to reduce their leisure spend in the next six months.