Leisure Consumers Under Lockdown Retreat To In-Home Entertainment

  • Net leisure spending in Q1 2020 fell seven percentage points compared to same time last year;
  • Year-on-year spending was down across all categories except in-home leisure;
  • Spending intentions for the next three months suggest consumers expect a continuation of lockdown and social distancing measures into the second quarter of 2020.

UK leisure spending fell seven percentage points in the first three months of the year compared to 2019 as social distancing measures encouraged consumers indoors and seeking entertainment at home, according to Deloitte’s latest Leisure Consumer report.

The quarterly survey of more than 3,000 UK adults revealed that spending fell year-on-year across every leisure category, with the exception of in-home leisure, marking the steepest quarterly and year-on-year fall since the Deloitte Leisure Consumer survey began in Q1 2016.

Staying home, staying safe

The reporting period, capturing the start of the UK-wide lockdown and social distancing measures, found that consumers sought more in-home leisure activities this quarter, as entertainment venues, from bars and pubs, to gyms, museums and cinemas were gradually closed. As a result, in-home leisure saw spending increase one percentage point compared to Q1 2019. Consumers intend to increase this spend over the next three months, with a quarter-on-quarter projected uplift of six percentage points.

Simon Oaten, partner for hospitality and leisure at Deloitte, commented: “As opportunities to spend on out-of-home activities remain restricted, the leisure consumer is in hibernation. However, consumers have found more ways to keep occupied whilst spending more time at home, be it through remote fitness classes or subscribing to more on-demand streaming services.

“With lockdown and social distancing restrictions yet to lift, consumers anticipate they will spend more of their discretionary income in this way in the coming months.”

Holidays on hold

35% of consumers revealed they had lost money due to the cancellation of planned holidays and events. With quarterly net spending down on both long-haul (-8 percentage points) and short-haul breaks (-10 percentage points), planned net spending is set to fall further by another 35 percentage points over the next three months.

Oaten said: “Consumers remain cautious about discretionary spending, with many holidaymakers’ pockets already directly hit as a result of travel restrictions. Whilst summer 2020 may not see the level of travel we’d usually expect, historic trends indicate that consumers value the opportunity to travel. Experiences are likely to remain important to the leisure consumer in the long term, even if suitcases are kept in storage for the time being.”

A look ahead

Oaten concluded: “Leisure is one of the sectors most significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, posing an unprecedented financial challenge. Historically low consumer confidence means we are unlikely to see the usual uplift in leisure spending that the warmer spring months bring, and current restrictions have highlighted the value leisure consumption brings to our economy and society.