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Survey reveals 44% of Brits choosing not to dine out this festive season

Published:  18 December, 2023

A new study from Forbes Advisor, the price comparison and financial guidance platform, has found that two in five Brits (44%) are choosing not to dine out this festive period (1 December - 2 January), the same figure it was 12 months ago when the survey was last conducted.

The data was obtained by Opinium on behalf of Forbes Advisor with a sample size of 2000 adults and was collected in November 2023.

Unsurprisingly, the curb in spending is thought to be driven by the cost-of-living crisis, with over half (54%) reducing their festive social spending due to financial pressures.

Consumers are also gravitating towards more affordable options, almost a quarter (24%) say they will be more selective when it comes to ordering as a way to save money.

However, despite the decline in spending during the festive period, there is an encouraging trend in year-on-year cutbacks. Around one in six individuals (16%) are opting to scale back on dating to help save money, compared to almost a quarter (24%) in 2022. Furthermore, one in ten (10%) are now choosing less expensive restaurants during the 2023 festive season, as opposed to nearly a quarter (24%) who made this choice in 2022.

The narrative remains consistent in the realm of alcohol consumption, where nearly one in five individuals (19%) are now opting to cut costs on alcoholic beverages, down from 24% the previous year.

Meanwhile, over a third of participants (37%) find themselves tapping into their savings to fund their social activities. Notably, the younger demographic (18-34) is bearing the brunt, with almost half (46%) relying on their savings for social holiday spending. This is closely followed by more than a third (37%) of 35-54-year-olds and just under a third of those aged 55 and older (31%).

Kevin Pratt, business expert at Forbes Advisor said: “Many businesses in the accommodation and food services sector – hotels, B&Bs, restaurants, pubs, cafes and so on, and their associated supply chains – rely on December to pay for the rest of the year, or at least a good part of it. If the income they rely on during the festive season fails to materialise, it can have a serious impact on their viability. At the least, it can mean cutting back on staff hours and putting any New Year investment plans on ice.”

According to the Office for National Statistics, one-quarter of businesses (25%) in the UK's accommodation and food service sector have sought to counteract the impact of reduced consumer spending by increasing December prices. The hospitality sector boasts the highest proportion of businesses which have chosen to raise prices in December 2023.

Pratt continued: “Increasing prices is a natural response, but there are obvious risks, such as deterring yet more customers from venturing out for a meal, and obliging some of those that do to spend less.

“Sadly, it looks like this Christmas and New Year will be a struggle financially for many businesses and for many of their customers. Hopefully, creativity, imagination and resilience will be enough to make it a successful and enjoyable period for as many as possible.”