British households spent 2% more on eating and drinking Out this Christmas than last year but spending on other forms of leisure declined.
Figures from this month's Greene King Leisure Spend Tracker showed that while spending on eating and drinking out was up, other leisure spending, including cinema and gym membership, fell 20% year-on-year, continuing what Greene King called a "downward spiral pattern" see throughout 2016.
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.
Kenny Skelton, Greene King's digital & insights director said: "The Christmas period is a clear demonstration of consumer priorities as British households increased 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."
Spending on eating out in December 2016 increased over £4 (5%) and drinking out rose by around £3.50 (8%) compared with November 2016.
This month's report also claimed that the pub is now a more popular destination for eating out than restaurants and fast-food outlets, with 37% of respondents saying 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.
In December, the average British household spent £205 on out of home leisure, a £15 (7%) decline year-on-year.