Sunshine boost for UK consumer confidence

The number of UK restaurants going bust has soared in the past year, the high street is in melt down, budgets are being squeezed by inflation and static wages, yet consumer confidence is walking on summer sunshine.

According to the Leisure Consumer Q2 2018 report, published this week, leisure spending in the UK is enjoying an upturn, and Brexit looks to be far from everyone’s minds, as the majority of leisure categories experience a boost in year-on-year spending.

Driven by record levels of consumer confidence, the quarterly survey of 3,166 UK adults revealed a three percentage point growth in leisure spending during April to June, compared with the same period in 2017, and was up two points on the previous quarter.

Spending on eating out rose by five points in the past year, with drinking in pubs and bars also increasing by four points.

The only category that saw a fall in spending (down two points) was short break holidays, while spending on live sport attendances remained flat from Q2 2017.

Spending on culture and entertainment saw the largest increase on the previous quarter rising five points, driven by the sunny weather and boosted by the feel-good factor from major events, such as the royal wedding.

Commenting on the report, a spokesperson says: “If consumers are spending on discretionary leisure items, whether that be cappuccinos or holidays, then that is a clear sign confidence in personal disposable income. It has been a challenging first half of the year for the sector, with a number of businesses, particularly in the casual dining sector, having to make bold strategic decisions. Nevertheless, the fact that leisure consumers are in good spirits is welcome news.

“Crucially, more habitual categories such as eating out and drinking in pubs and bars have seen a spending boost, a further sign of easing income pressure and improving consumer confidence.”

The research also shows that, over the next three months, UK consumers expect to increase their spending in 10 out of 11 categories compared to the previous year.

“The positive leisure consumer outlook is in contrast with news about the struggling high street and political uncertainty,” the spokesperson adds. “However, leisure businesses should feel optimistic about the growing confidence and the spending intentions of the leisure consumers, and will need to ensure they make the most of this feel-good factor.

“Significantly, our research has revealed that consumers are looking to spend across a broad range of leisure categories. This means that businesses from across the leisure sector should be able to benefit from the current mood, whether you’re a holiday operator, café, hotel, theatre or sports venue. In order to capitalise on this more confident market, leisure businesses need to ensure they continue to meet the needs for experience-seeking consumers.”

Whilst it’s positive to see so many sectors benefitting from sun-fuelled consumer optimism, it is important for businesses to put measures in place to sustain this growth over the coming months and beyond.

In order to survive and thrive, business owners need accurate, reliable and timely financial information, whether that be profit or cash focused, or both, to accurately and effectively manage the company’s finances and drive growth.

Speak to our SME business specialists about how we can help to identify your requirements and then design and implement a system which will provide all the information you need, within a cost effective and efficient framework.

Contact Steve Govey or your usual Beavis Morgan Partner for further information about how we can assist you and your business.