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UK consumer spend to hold steady in 2018

Published:  11 January, 2018

Research reveals that despite economic uncertainty two-thirds of UK consumers will continue to spend the same amount when it comes to nights out in 2018.

The majority of Brits aren’t, despite the financial uncertainty ahead, planning on curbing their spend when hitting bars and restaurants this year, according to new research from RSM.

Almost three-quarters (71%) of consumers are planning to spend the same or more on drinking and eating out over the next year, the research from the multinational network of accountants has revealed.

The survey of more than 2,000 UK adult consumers, which was carried out in October last year and published in RSM’s latest report Who Are Today’s Consumers?, unveiled that 59% would spend the same, while 12% were planning on splashing out more than the previous year when out and about.

However, 23% were intending to spend less and 6% were uncertain.

The figures changed when millennials were asked – 26% said they would spend more, 51% would spend the same and 19% would spend less, with just 4% not sure.

In addition, a quarter of millennials (25%) said they would be prepared to pay a premium to “enhance the eating and drinking experience” on days out.

The higher spending intention among millennials showed that catering for the high levels of 18 to 35-year-olds were becoming “increasingly important”, says Paul Newman, RSM partner and head of leisure and hospitality.

In light of the survey, being “agile to change and shifting demand is hugely important”, says Helen Melvin, finance director of Brasserie Bar Co.

“We’ve seen a marked increase in the younger demographic in our restaurants in the past few years due, in no small part, to positive changes we have made to stay relevant and make our business more appealing to this important audience,” she says.

The survey also revealed that three-quarters of those questioned (75%) visit the high street to eat and drink, while more than two-thirds (68%) go with the main aim of spending time with family and friends.

In comparison, 87% of 18 to 35-year-olds go out to eat or drink, with 82% saying they hit town to spend time with friends and family.

Just over half of those questioned (51%) now describe themselves as “cost-conscious” when it comes to spending, according to the research.

Released this week, the survey comes as Visa’s UK Consumer Spending Index showed a 4.7% increase on spend in hotels, restaurants and bars in December 2017 compared with the previous year – a five-month high.