Home Estate Planning Brits stayed at home to watch The Traitors during Dry January in blow for pubs

Brits stayed at home to watch The Traitors during Dry January in blow for pubs

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Brits opted to stay in and watch reality television smash hit ‘The Traitors’ in January, leading to depressed spending in restaurants, shops and bars, according to the latest report by Barclays. 

Spending on digital and subscriptions such as Netflix and Amazon surged 11.4 per cent in the first month of the year, Meanwhile, the nation tuned into the second season of the psychological game fronted by Claudia Winkleman on the BBC, which is paid for with the licence fee.

Its season finale attracted 5.5 million viewers. 

This shift in behaviour, as well as the popularity of Dry January, meant that bars, pubs and clubs saw a smaller uplift. Spending at pubs and bars grew 6.5 per cent during the month against a 7.9 per cent lift the prior month. 

Restaurants were hit harder with spending declining 11.6 per cent widening from 8.8 per cent on a month on month basis. 

Karen Johnson, head of retail at Barclays, said: “After a December filled with festive indulgence, Brits took on a more frugal approach in January, choosing to stay at home more often to save money and shelter from the winter weather.

“This meant that online retail performed strongly, as shoppers browsed the sales from the comfort of their sofas, while demand for digital content and takeaways remained robust, boosted by the release of popular new film and TV releases such as ‘The Traitors’ and ‘Fool Me Once.”

She added: “While this shift in behaviour resulted in subdued growth for hospitality and leisure, it’s encouraging that confidence is improving, with consumers remaining resilient and finding savvy ways to manage their finances.”

Retailers were also met with the January Blues as a separate report by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) showed non-food sales decreased 1.8 per cent  year-on-year over the three-months to January, against a growth of 2.9 per cent in the same period last year. 

“Easing inflation and weak consumer demand led retail sales growth to slow. While the January sales helped to boost spending in the first two weeks, this did not sustain throughout the month,” Helen Dickinsion, head of the BRC, said. 

“The milder temperatures meant clothing sales performed poorly, particularly winter clothing and footwear. It was better news for health and beauty products, which continued to sell extremely well,” she added. 

Despite the depressed reading, consumer sentiment is continuing to rise,  with  public confidence in both their household finances and ability to live within their means reaching its highest point since November 2021 up 70 per cent and 74 per cent respectively. 

Jack Meaning, chief UK Economist at Barclays, said: “Increasing consumer confidence is a positive message for the UK outlook in 2024, as we see inflation continue to fall, real incomes rising and growing signs that interest rate cuts are coming. 

“Spending looks to be on an upward trajectory, set to increase more than inflation in the coming months, which will be an important milestone for consumers and businesses who were squeezed throughout 2023.”

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