Summer Sales Boost: Britons Set To Spend £7.7 Bn On Sport & Cultural Events

  • A quarter of people in UK are cutting back on spending to afford summer plans
  • Sporting events top the list of events consumers are planning to spend on
  • Royal Wedding Bells: Good news for businesses as nation plans to spend £225m in celebration of the royal nuptials
  • Spend on holidays, brunch and technology is up YOY, while spend on cigarettes and drinking is in decline

From Wimbledon to the World Cup, new research out today from VoucherCodes reveals the nation is set to spend a collective £7.7 billion[2] on holidays, sporting and cultural events over the summer months.

The VoucherCodes’ Annual Cost of Living Life…/summer-blow-out-brits-set-to-splurge-7-7bn-on-sport-cultural-events-490eter, in partnership with Opinium, polled over 2,000 adults across the UK and found UK consumers are only buying essentials (56%) and avoiding eating out at restaurants and cafes (52%) in a bid to save up for the summer months. In fact, a quarter (23%) are changing their spending habits to make way for sunny celebrations. Other saving tactics include only buying items that are on offer (20%) and cutting back on social events and nights out (39%).

A Summer of Culture 

Loyal sports fans are expected to spend heavily in order to support their favourite teams this summer, with the nation set to spend a collective £1.83 billion cheering on their sporting heroes. In addition, music fans are planning to spend heavily on music concerts and festivals over the summer months, spending a huge £1.67 billion to see their favourite artists, while those who enjoy more traditional stage shows are getting ready to spend £994 million nationally to enjoy theatre and dance. The economy is also set to see a boost from the Royal Wedding with £225m due to be spent nationally on the occasion.

Top 5 Cultural & Sporting Activities for Summer 2018National Spend
FA Cup, Wimbledon, British Open etc.£1.83 billion
Music Concerts and Festivals£1.67 billion
Theatre and Dance£994 million
Museums and Art Galleries£640 million
Cinema£623 million

When comparing predicted spend across regions, those in London are set to spend the most on sporting events this summer (£160 per head), followed by those in Liverpool and Glasgow (£78 and 46 per head respectively). When it comes to music, Belfast residents spend the most, putting aside more money for festivals and music concerts than anywhere else in the UK (£48) followed by London (£45) and Sheffield (£42).

The Cost of Living Life in 2018

Compared to 2017, shoppers are spending more money on big ticket items such as holidays. The average British consumer is spending £750 to get some time away in the sun, up 3% on last year (£728), with men dedicating 10% more of their disposable income to holidays than women. The nation is also spending more on technology such as TVs, laptops and tablets, up from £179 in 2017 to £224 this year (+25%).

While consumers are spending more on brunch, up 8% year-on-year, the figures show that people are spending less on dinner and drinks out, both down 16% and 17% respectively, as Britons cut back in favour of spending on bigger purchases. Shoppers are also spending less on high-street clothing, down 10% on 2017, and streaming services such as Netflix and Sky TV, down 15% on last year, while spending on cigarettes is down by a significant 25%, perhaps as a result of the growing ‘vaping’ trend.

Top 10 Things Brits Are Spending Their Disposable Income on in 20172018

Yearly Average


Yearly Average


Increase / Decrease

1. Holidays & Breaks£750£728+3%
2. Eating Out (Dinner)£386£447-16%
3. High Street Clothes, Shoes & Accessories£320£353-10%
4. Drinking Out / Clubbing (Not Including Gig Tickets, Festival Tickets etc.)£244£294-17%
5. Eating Out (Brunch)£229£213+8%
6. Tech (TVs, laptops, tablets, e-readers)£224£179+25%
7. Streaming Services (Netflix, Sky TV etc.)£217£256-15%
8. Eating Out (Lunch)£208n/an/a
9. Takeaways – Food You Take Home / Get Delivered £206n/an/a
10. Cigarettes£187£233-25%

 Regional Spending Trends

While a number of Britons have changed their spending habits to fund bigger indulgences, a fifth (20%) of the nation admit they are ‘sporadic spenders’, with a further 3.1million (6%) saying that they are ‘frivolous’ with their finances. Glasgow and London topped the list of those saying they have no qualms parting with their money (almost one in 10 (8%)), while Manchester residents were revealed to be the most organised spenders (47%), planning and budgeting to avoid financial stress at a later date.

Jimmy New, Director of Marketing at VoucherCodes, comments:Britons started 2018 feeling positive about their finances and it’s great to see this sentiment expected to continue for the summer months. UK consumers are being strategic with their spending now, cutting back on day-to-day purchases while looking at the bigger picture, and saving for upcoming holidays, cultural events and fun with their friends and family in the summer months instead.

 “Spurred on by large scale cultural and sporting events like the World Cup, UK businesses can expect to see a welcome boost from June onwards, and businesses of all shapes and sizes can tap into these occasions by offering deals and discounts to increase footfall and get their share of the spend.”

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