UK consumers continue to go out less frequently to pubs and restaurants, but spend more when they do, according to the latest research by restructuring firm
The company's Leisure Wallet report, released this morning, showed that people are spending 7.3% more per visit at restaurants and 4.2% more at pubs. The average spend per visit is now £17.06 and £15.30 respectively.
But the increase in spend has been counterbalanced by a reduction in the frequency with which people go out. Zolfo Cooper said that reduction in frequency was likely to be as a result of the rising cost of eating and drinking out, amid on-going duty rises and price inflation.
Paul Hemming, partner, corporate advisory services, said: "It is the increasing cost of going out that is driving the increased spend rather than an extra indulgence by the consumer. The reality is that over the five consumer studies we have undertaken since summer 2010 each wave has seen a further drop in overall leisure spend. This means the market continues to shrink which will inevitably lead to more business failures."
"Many pub and bar operators are having the life squeezed out of them by a combination of cheap supermarket booze and escalating duties. The Government will not want to become even more unpopular by increasing supermarket prices so the focus needs to be on getting a fairer deal on VAT and duties. It's time everyone got behind the likes of Tim Martin and Jacques Borel or we will end up losing another 10,000 pubs.
"There is worse to come with further scheduled alcohol duty increases in March and well documented increases in food and drink input costs, so 2013 looks like being another challenging year for operators."
Tim Martin, founder and chairman of JD Wetherspoon, said: "It seems clear to me from the figures contained in this report show that the rising cost of going to the pub, from alcohol duty increases and January 2011's VAT rise, is impacting how often people visit."
After a difficult period of several years, there was better news for nightclub businesses, as the consumer sample indicated that more people were going clubbing, spending more money, more often. The key 18 -24 age group are spending an average of £28 on each of their 2.7 visits a month, an increase of more than 15% in spend.
The nationally representative study of more than 2,000 consumers also found:
•60% of respondents said supermarkets should not be prevented from discounting alcohol to drive footfall whilst 33% feel that they should
•59% were against the idea of a national minimum price per unit of alcohol; 32% were in favour
•73% of adults do not keep regular track of their consumption of units of alcohol
•65% of adults read nutritional information before making a food purchase in a shop
•54% do not keep a rough check on their daily calorie consumption but 10% do all the time
•Almost 80% of people now book hotel rooms online, either directly with the hotel or through a third-party booking agent such as Expedia, versus 12% who prefer to use the phone
•The internet is increasingly important as a research tool, with 68% of hotel guests using it to conduct research prior to making a reservation
•There is almost a £20 price gap in what people spend on hotel rooms for business versus personal breaks: £73 per room per night against £56
•We are a nation of online reviewers: on average respondents had written two online reviews of a hotel experience in the past six months
•Only 14% of restaurant goers make purchasing decisions based on the availability of discount vouchers; only 2% do it all of the time
•At £847, Londoners spend the most on eating out annually
•53% of the working population buy a sandwich from a shop at least once a week
•66% of the full-time workforce do not ever use a staff canteen
•The number of people who feel secure in their jobs has ticked up two percentage points to 33%, whilst the number of people who are worried about their jobs has reduced from 14% to 11%