Consumer spend on staycations rises ‘significantly’

Consumers spent “significantly” more on staycations and home improvements during this year’s early May bank holiday compared with the same holiday in 2023, new research shows.

People continued to spend their money on experiences rather than possessions, with UK holidays and eating out up on last year, according to data from Mastercard Spendingpulse.

Notable year-on-year increases in staycation spend were seen in Dorset, up 29%, Cornwall, up 24% and Devon, up 13%.

More: Spending growth at travel agents hits lowest level since last August

Restaurant spending saw a 5.6% overall year-on-year increase, especially in areas with increased staycations, with restaurant spend in Dorset up 33% and Devon up 11%, “indicating holidaymakers and local residents are making the most of the additional time off work to eat out,” the analytics company said.

Spending in London increased by 11% compared to 2023, which Mastercard Spendingpulse said is likely to have been driven by overseas visitors, saying around 17% of tourism spend in the UK is on experiences.

There was also a rise in spend on home improvements, with a 10% uplift in spending on home furniture and furnishings.

Natalia Lechmanova, chief economist for Europe at Mastercard Economics Institute, said: “As we come into what will hopefully be warmer months, people have been making the most of the extra time off over the bank holiday weekend to spend time exploring different parts of the UK, eating out at restaurants and giving their homes a refresh ready for the summer.

“A trend we are seeing across almost every region of the UK is an increase in spending on experiences over things, with consumer confidence and purchasing power on the rise and a summer of big events ahead of us, including Taylor Swift’s European tour.

“However, as consumers now benefit from more purchasing power, some discretionary spending is now being channelled on things too. This may have a positive knock-on impact likely to be seen not just in the UK economy, but across Europe more broadly.”

Picture: Portland Bill, Dorset; Fedorenko

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