Consumers dine out and boost leisure sector in referendum aftermath

Spending in the UK leisure sector has remained strong in the third quarter of 2016, and has increased in most categories, according to Deloitte, the business advisory firm.

In research published today, Deloitte found that, during the three months to September, leisure consumers spent more or the same in every leisure category compared to the previous quarter. Spending on eating out, in restaurants, pubs and cafés, saw the biggest quarterly rise in spending, increasing by three percentage points from Q2, and six percentage points since Q1.

Spending on culture and entertainment also increased, by two percentage points, since the second quarter of 2016. Attending live sporting events has seen a similar uplift in spending. Betting and gaming, drinking in pubs and bars, and spending in coffee shops have all seen increases of one percentage point in the last quarter.
With Q3 consumer confidence rising by three percentage points to a five-year high, the gap between leisure and retail spending continues to narrow as consumers keep prioritising spending on experiences, such as holidays and days out, rather than goods and services.

Dave Johnson, partner and consumer business lead at Deloitte in the North East, comments: “Given the political uncertainly in the immediate aftermath of the EU referendum, it is reassuring to see that the leisure sector has performed well and remained resilient.

“A key reason for the sector’s robustness is due to the growth of habitual leisure spend over the last few years. Leisure, whether in or out of the home, is now part of the daily routine for the vast majority of UK consumers.

“The health of the leisure sector is a good barometer of the UK’s economic prospects: consumers need sufficient disposable income to justify spending on non-essential leisure activities. Favourable economic conditions, including low inflation, unemployment and interest rates, have encouraged consumers to spend on leisure. Leisure spending will therefore react according to how these economic fundamentals change in the coming months.”