The report, based on a survey of 2,000 consumers conducted by YouGov, revealed that eating out spend was up by 2 per cent year-on-year in October, compared to an 8 per cent fall in drinking out spend and a 10 per cent decline in total leisure spend per household.
Family households and households outside of London and the South East were the driving force behind the year-on-year growth, with average eating out spend among these households up 5 per cent and 25 per cent respectively during the month.
Eating out increased its share of total leisure spend by 5 per cent year-on-year, meaning consumers allocated 41 per cent of their leisure budget to meals in restaurants and pubs in October.
The report said the ‘relative stability’ of spend on eating out suggested that households are prioritising it above other leisure activities and cutting back on spend elsewhere first.
It added that drinking out spend suffered from a decline in alcohol consumption, particularly among young people, with a migration away from drink only occasions and drink increasingly consumed with food - something that contributed to the rise in eating out spend.
“With Christmas upon us and consumer confidence still fragile the continued prioritisation of eating out spend over other leisure is a very interesting dynamic, it is clear that this activity is now firmly established as our favourite leisure pursuit,” said Steve Jebson, commercial director at Greene King.
Although eating out showed year-on-year growth it did not escape the impact of the Christmas saving drive, with spend on meals down 12 per cent during the month compared to September. Spend on drinking out also fell 9 per cent from the previous month.
Furthermore, over a quarter (27 per cent) of respondents said they plan to cut back on eating and drinking out over the Christmas period compared to last year, with just 15 per cent intending to spend more.
“With Christmas just around the corner, Brits yet again limited their leisure spend last month. And, with consumer confidence still fragile, it is not surprising that many are hesitant to loosen the purse strings,” said Jebson.