Consumers spent the equivalent of £87 per person on eating out last month, four per cent more compared to April last year – and Easter was the main driving force, according to the latest Leisure Spend Tracker report from pubco and brewer Greene King.
But while food sales increased, drink sales decreased four per cent year-on-year, following a return to growth last month.
The spend tracker report claimed households are continuing to allocate more cash towards eating out on special occasions such as Easter, as they enjoy increases in disposable income, following depreciation in food costs and falling oil prices.
It revealed a 12 per cent increase in eating out spending in April compared to March, as households splashed out on Easter dinners over the long weekend.
This drove an increase in total leisure spend of 10 per cent in April versus March, the report said.
However, there was no change in total leisure spend versus last year – indicating that allocation of spending rather than volume of spending is the key change.
Household spend in London and the south-east increased one per cent, offsetting an equivalent one per cent fall across the rest of the UK.
Greene King marketing director Fiona Gunn said: “Special occasions and landmark events, such as Mother’s Day and Easter, are influencing how people choose to spend their money on leisure.
“Following the recession, consumers are increasingly aware of the importance of budgeting and keeping an eye on spending.”
Gunn added: “Consumers continue to find the cash for big events and the leisure industry is still dominated by important annual celebrations. It will be interesting to see how this trend continues over the course of the year.”
The report also found that other leisure pursuits in April, such as the cinema, live sports events and museums, were down by 3 per cent on last year. However, there was a nine per cent increase in these activities compared to March.
Gunn said: “With comparatively more live football matches and more popular movies released, live sport events and the cinema certainly benefited from the increased spend during April.”
Running four times a year, Greene King’s Leisure Spend Tracker is based on an online, nationally-representative sample of 2,000 UK adults. Data has been collected every month since August 2013.