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Wed 18th Jan 2017 - Brits prioritise leisure spending on eating and drinking out in December, pubs now favourite evening dining destination
Brits prioritise leisure spending on eating and drinking out in December, pubs now favourite evening dining destination: British households prioritised their leisure spending on eating and drinking out in December as spend in those areas increased 2% year-on-year while total leisure spend dropped 7%, according to the latest Greene King Leisure Tracker. The report also revealed pubs are now the nation’s favourite destination for eating out in the evening ahead of restaurants and fast food outlets. The average British household spent £205.23 in out-of-home leisure activities, a £15 (7%) decrease on the previous year and no change against November. Meanwhile, eating and drinking out spend saw month-on-month increases of 5% and 8% respectively, with both areas remaining robust as consumers showed where their leisure spending priorities lie. In contrast, other leisure, which includes cinema and gym memberships, fell sharply in December, down 20% year-on-year, continuing the downward spiral pattern seen throughout 2016. While this shift in consumer spending on other leisure had been evident in the preceding months, a number of factors contributed to the sharp decline in December. Star War’s spin-off movie Rogue One was unable to match the huge box-office success of Star Wars: The Force Awakens in December 2015, while spending on live sports and other events declined during the period as the holidays fell on a weekend rather than on a weekday as in previous years. Year-on-year, eating out has increased its share of spend mix by 3% to 42%, with drinking out up 2% to 24%. It was the 13th consecutive month where drinking out had a share of 22% or greater. The report also revealed the pub is now a more popular destination for eating out than restaurants and fast food outlets. A total of 37% of respondents said they visit pubs most regularly when eating out in the evening, slightly ahead of restaurants with 35% but well ahead of fast food outlets, which were favoured by 12% of those surveyed. British adults are also more likely to visit a wider range of places when it comes to eating and drinking out than two years ago, the report showed. Greene King digital and insights director Kenny Skelton said: “The Christmas period is a clear demonstration of consumer priorities as British households increase spending on eating and drinking out at the expense of other leisure. These are increasingly ‘protected’ areas of spend, with people unwilling to cut back on what they now consider essential leisure spending. Meanwhile, the figures show the great British pub continues to be an important venue for many British households, not only as a place for socialising but as a preferred destination for eating out. This has been helped by an industry-wide focus on improving the dining experience for customers – one that will stand it in good stead moving forward into 2017.”

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