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Passion for leisure

A view of the UK leisure consumer – Q1 2018

Leisure consumers are still feeling the pinch in the first quarter of 2018. Although inflation is starting to ease and wages continue to gradually climb, consumers have reduced their spending on most leisure activities. Looking ahead, consumers have little intention to spend more in the coming months, leaving spending on holidays significantly below the level seen last year.

Key findings

Q1 2018 at a glance:

  • Spending decreased across the majority of leisure categories in Q1 2018, compared to the previous quarter. 
  • Long holidays and short breaks have seen the biggest increases in spend since Q4 2017.
  • Year-on-year leisure spending decreases across almost every leisure category, apart from holidays and attending live sports events. 
  • Spending on culture and entertainment was down the most, while eating and drinking out also decreased.
  • In Q2 2018, consumers plan to spend less money in almost all of the leisure categories, apart from playing sports and attending live sports events.
  • Year-on-year intended spending on long breaks and short breaks is significantly below the level seen last year.

Despite inflation beginning to ease and wages growing gradually, there has been a clear shift in behaviour with consumers starting to rein in their leisure expenditure. This suggests that as essentials take up a larger part of their income, consumer are consciously re-evaluating and adjusting their discretionary spending, in the same way as they are on other discretionary purchases, as echoed in our consumer sentiment report Consumer Tracker Q1 2018.

As the sun begins to shine and summer arrives, we expect consumers to continue to be cautious with leisure spending. However spending on playing sports and attending live sports events is forecast to increase. With consumer confidence increasing and big events such as the Football World Cup around the corner, will this boost leisure spending in Q2 2018?

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