Mintel survey suggests expenditure on holidays down, but 25% regard a holiday as essential

Excluding the flights, overseas holidays by UK households in 2010 made up more than 60% of total holiday expenditure with £12 billion spent on UK trips and £21.3 billion on holidays abroad. Mintel data showed that holidays were rated as the third biggest area in which consumers had spent less, behind entertainment and leisure (54%) and food and takeaways (53%) between 2009 and 2010. The Mintel survey showed 40% class holidays as a luxury and one 25% see a holiday as a necessary spend, based on a poll of 2,000 people. Also data on household spending.

Holiday spend ‘will not recover until 2014-15’ says Mintel

By Juliet Dennis 
7.9.2011 (Travel Weekly)


Holiday spend 'will not recover until 2014-15' - Mintel

Consumer spending on holidays is unlikely to return to pre-recession levels until 2014-2015 in line with a pick-up in the economy, according to Mintel’s 2011 British Lifestyles survey.

Last year (2010) total expenditure on domestic and overseas holidays, excluding transport on trips abroad such as flights, dropped to a five-year low of £33.4 billion.

Domestic holidays accounted for 60% of 2010 holidays, the same as 2009, but overseas holidays made up more than 60% of total expenditure with £12 billion spent on UK trips and £21.3 billion on holidays abroad.

However, average holiday expenditure increased last year, in part due to increasing UK petrol prices. Just over three-quarters of UK holidays are taken by car.

Mintel’s report forecasts total holiday expenditure will rise gradually to £37 billion in 2015 – the same as it was in 2008.

Senior travel and tourism analyst Tom Rees said: “The economic situation continues to constrain spending with rising inflation, petrol costs and fuel and food bills going up. The recession may have officially ended but it certainly doesn’t feel that way to people making their holiday purchase decisions.”

The report surveyed 2,017 internet users aged over 16 to look at the impact of the economic slowdown on consumers. Almost half (45%) spent less on holidays in the 12 months to June 2011.

Holidays were rated as the third biggest area in which consumers had spent less, behind entertainment and leisure (54%) and food and takeaways (53%). Consumers were less likely to have cut spend on technology and communications, clothing and accessories, and home and garden.

The same poll found 23% would always or mainly priotise price over quality when it comes to buying holidays. “It is particularly interesting people are still willing to go for a bargain even if they do not know the brand,” added Rees.

Overall the number of holidays taken by UK consumers has continued to decrease with a significant drop from 99.2 million in 2009 to 93 million holidays in 2010. Overseas breaks are at their lowest level for more than a decade.

Despite the fall in the number of holidays, domestic holidays have maintained their share of the market. This is set to continue, said Rees, with consumer confidence at a 20 year low.

The domestic holiday trend could continue even when expenditure picks up because of other rising costs such as university tuition fees, he added. “I wonder if we are seeing a rebalancing in favour of domestic holidays more than we have done before. Are people getting used to a new financial reality?”

The survey also shows consumers no longer view holidays as a necessity; four in ten class holidays as a luxury and one in four as a necessary spend, based on a poll of 2,000 people.

 Mintel’s British Lifestyles report reveals consumer reaction to the age of austerity

Extract from the Mintel report (Sept 2011) says:

“And it seems the divide between rich and poor is reflected in their buying behaviour and treat purchases in the current economic climate. Almost half of people (46%) with incomes in excess of £50,000 per year will take a holiday to cheer themselves up when they’re feeling down but this compares to 22% amongst those living in households with an income of less than £15,500.”


“Spending on holidays has been cut, as more people choose to stay around where they live or elsewhere in the UK, rather than purchase more expensive holiday packages abroad. A combination of the weak pound and a decline in the cost of domestic holidays (with UK holidays £144 cheaper compared to last year) this rise in the popularity of ‘stacations’ fits well into the mentality of ‘preparing for the worst’. In 2010, total expenditure on holidays dropped to a five-year low. The number of overseas holidays continued to fall and domestic holidays came down from the ‘staycation’ high of 2009.  Average expenditure increased, however, with petrol prices a key driver in the UK (over three in four domestic holidays are self-drive trips). Domestic holidays accounted for six in ten of the total in 2010; overseas holidays made up more than 60% of total expenditure, however.

“While one in four people consider holidays to be a necessary spend, four in ten classify them as a luxury.”


see also

UK households spent an average of £474 a week in 2010

29.11.2011 (UK Office for National Statistics)

The average amount spent per week on different goods and services by UK households in 2008 can be seen in the following chart:

Average weekly household expenditure on main commodities and services, 2010, UK

Average weekly household expenditure on main commodities and services, 2010, UK



[Spending on holidays and foreign travel is not included in these figures – only travel within the UK and package holiday abroad].

UK households spent an average of £473.60 a week in 2010 compared with £455.00 a week in 2009. Expenditure, unadjusted for inflation, increased after a fall in 2009 to reach a level slightly higher than that recorded for 2008.

Household spending is analysed according to an internationally agreed classification system: the Classification of Individual Consumption by Purpose (COICOP). Using this classification in 2010, household spending was highest in the transport category, at £64.90 a week. This included £19.50 on the purchase of vehicles, £33.30 on the operation of personal transport (such as petrol, diesel, repairs and servicing) and £12.10 on transport services (such as rail, tube and bus fares).

The second highest category of spending was housing (excluding mortgage costs), fuel & power, at £60.40 a week. This includes rentals for housing, and electricity, gas and other fuels.

The third highest category of spending was recreation and culture, at £58.10 a week. This includes TVs, computers, newspapers, books, leisure activities and package holidays. Averaged out over the year, £11.60 a week was spent on package holidays abroad, compared with £1.00 a week on package holidays in the UK.

Food and non-alcoholic drink purchases contributed £53.20 to weekly household expenditure – £13.90 of which was spent on meat and fish, £4.00 on fresh vegetables, and £3.10 on fresh fruit. Non-alcoholic drinks accounted for £4.30 of weekly expenditure, and £2.20 per week was spent on chocolate and confectionery.

Average weekly household expenditure varied according to the age of the household reference person (as defined in the notes below). Those households where the reference person was aged 30 to 49 spent the most on average at £573.10 a week. Those where the reference person was aged 75 or over had the lowest average household expenditure, at £240.40 a week.

Source: Living Costs and Food Survey

Source: Office for National Statistics

Background notes

  1. The ‘other expenditure items’ category is not included here but is shown in ‘Family Spending’ (for example, Table A1). It includes mortgage interest payments, council tax, licences, fines and transfers, and holiday spending.
  2. A ‘household reference person’ (HRP) is the person who own or rents or is otherwise responsible for the accommodation. In the case of joint householders, the person with the highest income takes precedence and becomes the HRP. Where incomes are equal, the older is taken as the HRP.




Source: Living Costs and Food Survey – Office for National Statistics

Household spending


ONS Release:  Family Spending 2011 Edition 

Released: 29 November 2011
The key points from this release are:
  • UK Households spent an average of £474 per week in 2010
  • The largest expenditure categories were transport, housing (excluding mortgages) fuel and power, and recreation and culture.
  • There were five regions in which expenditure over the period 2008-2010 was higher than the UK average: London, South East, East , South West, and Northern Ireland.
  • Households in rural areas had higher overall expenditure than those in urban areas.
  • The ownership of consumer durables continued to increase into 2010

Results of the Living Costs and Food Survey (formally the Expenditure and Food Survey), successor to the Family Expenditure Survey (FES) and the National Food Survey (NFS).

We are currently carrying out a user feedback survey for the Family Spending publication. The survey provides an opportunity for you to tell us about your use of the Family Spending estimates and your perceptions of the quality of the publication.

Take part in our user survey

These National Statistics are produced to high professional standards and released according to the arrangements approved by the UK Statistics Authority.


August 2010

Britons’ Holiday Spending Revealed

By Ade O’Connor

The importance of saving money on travel insurance has been highlighted by a survey which found the average Briton spends £372 per week for travel and accommodation on their summer holidays.

Britons use up an average of £227 per person per week in spending money while enjoying the sunshine, according to the Churchill Insurance’s research. The group found the total holiday cost for the average family of four was £4,792 for a two-week break.

Men spend an average of £392 a week on travel and accommodation, some £39 more than women, who fork out £353 while on their summer break. Men also use up more spending money, getting through an average of £249 in a week, more than the £205 spent by women.

The biggest spenders can be found in the South East, where an average of £646 per person, per week, is being spent, while people in the South West spend the least, paying an average of £504.

People from London spend an average of £598, those from the East Midlands spend £644 and those travelling from Yorkshire and Humberside needed to set £564 aside for each week of their holiday.