British households enjoyed Eating and Drinking Out this Christmas, as leisure spend in these areas rose 2% compared to the previous year, according to this month’s Greene King Leisure Spend Tracker.
In contrast, Other Leisure, which includes cinema and gym memberships, fell sharply in December, down 20% year-on-year, continuing the downward spiral pattern seen throughout 2016.
While this shift in consumer spending on Other Leisure had been evident in the preceding months, a number of factors contributed to the sharp decline in December. Star War’s spin-off ‘Rogue One’ was unable to match the huge box-office success of ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ in December 2015, while spending on live sports and other events declined during the period as the holidays fell on a weekend, rather than on a weekday as in previous years.
Reflecting on this month’s Leisure Spend Tracker, Kenny Skelton, Greene King’s digital & insights director: “The Christmas period is a clear demonstration of consumer priorities as British households increased spending on Eating and Drinking Out at the expense of Other Leisure. These are increasingly ‘protected’ areas of spend with people unwilling to cut back on what they now consider essential leisure spending.”
This month’s report also reveals that the pub is now a more popular destination for Eating Out than restaurants and fast-food outlets. 37% of respondents said they visit pubs most regularly when Eating Out in the evening, slightly ahead of restaurants with 35% but well ahead of fast-food outlets, which were favoured by 12% of those surveyed.
Commenting on the findings, Skelton said: “The figures show the Great British pub continues to be an important venue for many British households, not only as a place for socialising but as a preferred destination for Eating Out. This has been helped by an industry-wide focus on improving the dining experience for customers – one that will stand it in good stead moving forward into 2017.”
- In December, the average British household spent £205 on out of home leisure, a £15 (7%) decline year-on-year.
- The effect of Christmas was clear on a month-on-month basis with spending on Eating Out increasing over £4 (5%) and Drinking Out rising by around £3.50 (8%) compared with November.
- Month-on-month, Other Leisure spending fell by £8 (10%) as households prioritised food and drink during the festive period.
- The stability of Eating Out and Drinking Out and the fall in Other Leisure spending also saw the latter’s share of spend mix reduced by 6%.
- The Great British Pub is confirmed as the go to destination for Eating Out in the evening time, with 37% of respondents identifying it as their over going to restaurants (35%) and fast-food outlets (12%)
- Year-on-year, there has been a rise in spend on Eating Out of £2 (+2%) and Drinking Out of £1 (+2%).
- Drinking Out’s share of spend mix remains robust, with December 2016 the 13th consecutive month with a share of 22% or greater. This highlights the importance of Drinking Out to many people’s lifestyles.