Adventure was back on the menu this summer, with new data from Virgin Money showing Brits are carefully balancing their finances so they can have fun and enjoy experiences, while also saving for the future, despite the ongoing cost-of-living pressures.
New analysis of Virgin Money current account data shows customers have spent considerably more on eating out and holidays between June and August 2023, compared to the same time last year.
Overall, Virgin Money customers spent a total of £940.6m on holidays, UK stays, eating out, fashion, wellbeing, keeping fit, entertainment, and memberships and subscriptions between June and August 2023. That’s 11% higher than during summer 2022. Plus, the number of transactions is also up by 6% year on year, indicating that consumer confidence is building.
Eating out took the top spot for spending this summer, with Virgin Money customers making the most of long summer evenings and spending a total of £295.8m (up 11% on summer 2022) treating themselves in restaurants and bars.
Holiday spend increased by a third year on year, reaching a total of £129.5m between June and August 2023. In a Virgin Money survey, a quarter of people who spent more on going abroad said that holidays are the most important thing they spend money on, and they’d rather make memories with friends and family than miss out. Unsurprisingly, the most common reason for spending more this year is because the cost has risen since last year – but this isn’t enough to put people off booking a holiday altogether. In fact, one in 10 people admitted to cutting back on other areas of spending so that they could afford to fork out more on travelling – highlighting the importance of time away with loved ones.
Looking good on holiday is important for Brits too, with a third of people who spent more on clothes, shoes and accessories on holiday saying that they were treating themselves for their travels. Virgin Money data shows that spending on style increased by only 4% in summer compared to spring, but the number of transactions was up by 8% – suggesting people opted for cheaper items to help their money go further.
Although people are spending more on lifestyle categories than in spring, and also this time last year, the data also uncovers some promising savings trends. The survey shows that more than half of people saved the same amount or more during summer as they did in spring – and only 10% people say that they don’t feel in control of their money.
Ruth Brougham, head of digital banking at Virgin Money, said “We’ve seen our customers choosing to prioritise their lifestyle spending to allow them to be more adventurous and enjoy exciting experiences over the past few months. Despite the cost of living pressure, it’s reassuring to see that making memories continues to be important for people, and saving for a rainy day remains a high priority for many.
“That’s not to say we don’t understand times are still tough for many. We’ve all felt the effects of inflation on what we buy and we’re keen to listen to our customers and understand how they are choosing to spend their money, especially outside of their monthly bills and commitments. Doing this means we can understand their needs better and help them stay on top of their finances. From support with balancing their budgets so they can enjoy the little things, to help with saving for a big break away with friends and family, we’re on hand to provide people with the tools, help and products they need to make the most of their money and have fun at the same time.”
The Virgin Money mobile banking app is packed full of tools that help customers budget, top up their savings and track their transactions to help people feel in control of their money. Visit Virgin Money to find out more.