What do UK adults plan to spend more or less on in the year ahead?

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How are UK adults planning to spend their money heading into the new year? Do they anticipate splurging on a big holiday, or would they rather spend more on everyday takeaways? Will streaming subscriptions or home improvements capture more of their money?    

We explored these topics and more as part of the 2021 worth and value survey from Marcus by Goldman Sachs, carried out among over 8,000 UK adults in partnership with YouGov. This survey provides an annual snapshot of which financial, personal, and professional behaviours UK adults find most worthwhile.  

In the first instalment of this series, we assessed which types of financial behaviours people find most worthwhile, including saving and investing. Now we’re sharing what our research indicates about consumption habits and how our survey respondents plan to spend their money in the year ahead.  

Scratching the holiday itch

After nearly two years of travel restrictions, the itch to splurge on travel seems evident Our research reveals that holidays are the nation’s most common financial priority, with over a quarter of respondents (27%) saying they are looking to spend more on holidays in the next year, compared to in the past year. 

Additionally, one in 20 people surveyed (5%) are looking to take the holiday of a lifetime in the next year, and one in 10 (9%) stating that it would be worthwhile borrowing money to pay for a holiday.

Travel seems even more worthwhile for younger age groups. According to the research, millennials (25-34-year-olds) are the most eager age group looking to jet set, with 41% revealing that they are planning to spend more money on holidays in the coming months. 

Home and family are worth the spend

While holidays topped the list for what people plan to spend more on, UK adults also seem to highly value their home and families. 

32% of survey respondents said that they plan to spend more on their home in the year ahead, perhaps because of the increased time many of us have spent in our homes during lockdowns, and the rise of working from home even as the pandemic has begun to ease. 

Keeping our children happy is also a financial priority after another tough year, with almost a third (31%) of parents surveyed planning to spend more on treating their children, such as taking them out for the day. 

Fewer takeaway orders in the year ahead?

While our survey indicates that people are willing to allocate more money to travel,  as well as home and family life, spending on everyday items does not seem to be as worthwhile.

Streaming services, eating out, and technology goods (phones, tablets, etc) topped the list of what respondents plan to spend less on in the year ahead. Takeaways also fell into the category of what people were looking to reduce spend on. 

These trends were apparent across the board but were even more pronounced amongst millennials (25-34-year-olds). 43% of that age group want to cut back on takeaways, with 23% wanting to spend less on eating out, and 21% less on technology. 

Together, these numbers support the narrative that some people seem more willing to scale back on smaller spending in favour of big-ticket experiences like holidays or purchases that centre around core parts of their lives like home and family.  

The final word from Marcus UK’s Chief Strategy Officer 

Taken together, these findings from our research can help show what UK adults are prioritising more – and less - coming out of the pandemic. 

Amanda Le Brocq, head of strategy for Marcus by Goldman Sachs in the UK, summarises the story behind the numbers.

While treats such as takeaways and on-demand services were a tonic for many of us during the pandemic, our findings show that we are re-evaluating what we think is worth spending our money on next year. 

The research indicates that many people are cutting back on these everyday luxuries in order to save money for their holidays. And after almost two years of travel restrictions and major changes to our lifestyles, it’s clear that spending money on holidays, as well as other intangible items, might become more valuable to us in the future. 

Up next

So far in our worth and value 2021 research, we’ve explored how UK adults may be thinking about saving/investing their money, as well as spending their money. 

In the third and final instalment of this series, we’ll be exploring the changing nature of what’s deemed worthwhile when it comes to how people earn their money. Particularly, we’ll be exploring the shift towards valuing work/life balance more than pay when considering jobs. 

The content in this article is for information only and is not advice. All content in this article was accurate on the date of publication shown above.

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