Northerners are better groomed than southerners, Worldpay “Indulgence Index” shows

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Drawing on its vast store of payments data, Worldpay has revealed its analysis of the spending habit of millions of people in the UK’s largest cities. Lifting the lid on how Brits choose to spend their money once the bills are paid, Worldpay’s analysis has delivered some surprising results; not least that the North of England has the edge over the South when it comes to the indulgences of eating out, drinking and beautification.

Essex may have given us the cast from TOWIE, but according to Worldpay the North West is the UK’s capital of looking smooth. Residents in Bolton spend more than anywhere else in the UK on personal grooming, racking up an average of £95.30 per person on spray tans, hair treatments and facials between May and July 2015; 57% more than the average for the top 50 cities in the UK.

 The North also claims the UK’s biggest bar tabs. Thirteen northern towns make up the top 20 UK cities for average bar spend per visit. And if it’s a big night out you’re looking for, then head to Oldham where people spend an average of £36.58 each time they visit the pub. This is more than 50% above the average amount punters spend per drinking session across the UK’s 50 largest towns and cities.

Further evidence of the North-South divide can be seen when it comes to dining out. Londoners fork out more than double the UK average on eating out as a proportion of their total outlay. And while Brighton’s citizens may languish at the bottom of the league table when it comes to spending at the local pub (£17.96 per visit), its restaurant scene is second only to London’s, with foodie residents spending 80% more on meals out than in other major cities. By contrast, people in Stoke are the least likely to treat themselves, spending 80% less than the UK average in restaurants.

If all this sounds a bit rich and a night at the cinema is more your thing, then head to Warrington – evidently the home of Britain’s film buffs – to find like-mind souls. Worldpay’s analysis shows the city’s residents visited the cinema once every six weeks, 15% more often than the UK average.

Dave Hobday, UK managing director, Worldpay, said: “The UK’s North-South divide is ever present and our index presents a vivid picture of how these regional differences play out in terms of non-essential spending. So while southerners seem to prefer a nice dinner for two, in the north we see a mix of urban professionals and image conscious adults boosting spend on everything from Champagne to spray tans.

“Recognising and understanding the habits and desires of these regional consumer tribes is absolutely essential for any retailer looking to expand into a new area, or adapt their offering to a local audience.”