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Deloitte Consumer Tracker: The wheels are turning, but consumer spending on leisure remains hesitant to take off

25 July 2013

  • Consumers feel the most optimistic about their disposable income since the Deloitte Consumer Tracker began in 2011 (-29% in Q2 2013 vs. -36% in Q2 2012).
  • Consumers have tentatively started to increase their spending in some of the discretionary categories such as in restaurants and on short breaks;
  • Consumers remain cautious about their future with one-in-two not foreseeing improvements in their level of disposable income in 2014.

Consumer confidence is growing and behaviour is beginning to change, according to the latest Deloitte Consumer Tracker. Consumers feel the most optimistic about their disposable income since the Tracker began in 2011. The sentiment index rose by 7 points to -29%, compared to -36% this time last year. Confidence has been bolstered by an improving economic climate and a reduction in consumer concerns about debt which has nearly halved in the last year, from -15% in Q2 2012 to -8% in Q2 2013.

As a result, consumers are showing a slightly greater willingness to spend on non-essentials, such as leisure activities. While they are still being cautious towards spending, last quarter, fewer consumers were spending less on holidays, short breaks and eating out. Net spending on holidays rose by two points from -6% in Q2 2012 to -4% in Q2 2013. Net spending on short breaks and eating out rose by four points to -13%, compared to -17% this time last year.  

Although consumer sentiment is becoming increasingly positive, these small steps show that spending remains hesitant for the time being. Indeed consumers have become used to weak income growth in the last five years and their spending is unlikely to return to pre-crisis rates of growth for a long time. Still, as confidence continues to grow, consumers are becoming less defensive and fewer say they intend to spend less on leisure in the next quarter.

Graham Pickett, head of travel, hospitality and leisure at Deloitte, said: “Though the consumer mood is cautious, their sentiment is gradually beginning to improve. The British public are making the most of the glorious weather with indications showing that UK holiday bookings are booming. The aviation sector is reporting an upturn in bookings too. However, the hot weather is slowing activity on outbound holidays as many of those who were planning on taking a summer break abroad are still making their late bookings, but opting for staycations rather than holidaying overseas.”

Jon Lake, a corporate finance director in the licensed retail group at Deloitte, added: “Consumers have been reluctant to cut back on eating out and the slow return of consumer confidence will be welcomed by the restaurant sector. Of particular interest is that while the consumer drive for value for money remains strong, those operators and brands who consistently deliver quality of product and service are being rewarded by a loyal consumer and better relative market performance.”

End

Notes to editors

About The Deloitte Consumer Tracker
The Deloitte Consumer Tracker is an economic update focussed on consumer spending attitudes and behaviours. Through a quarterly survey of 3,000 adult UK consumers it monitors the patterns of consumer expenditure on a category-by-category basis and the underlying drivers of spending behaviour, notably household disposable income and consumer confidence. It also considers consumers’ spending outlook for the next quarter.

About Deloitte
In this press release references to Deloitte are references to Deloitte LLP, which is among the country's leading professional services firms.

Deloitte LLP is the United Kingdom member firm of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (“DTTL”), a UK private company limited by guarantee, whose member firms are legally separate and independent entities.

Please see www.deloitte.co.uk/about for a detailed description of the legal structure of DTTL and its member firms.

The information contained in this press release is correct at the time of going to press.

Member of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited.

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