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High streets to see £17Bn spending boom as Brits holiday at home

23 August 2021
The Business Magazine article image for: High streets to see £17Bn spending boom as Brits holiday at home
Alcester, Warwickshire, UK. 07 25 2019. Alcester High Street, Shakespeare Country, in the summer with red, white and blue bunting across the street.

Regional high streets will see a £17 billion tourist spending boom this year, with 29 million Brits holidaying in the UK, according to new research by Direct Line business insurance.

British tourists are spending big with local businesses, giving them a helping hand after more than a year of difficulty. Nearly seven out of 10 domestic tourists are prioritising shopping at small businesses, which struggled during the pandemic.

The survey, which excluded London businesses, found that regional cafes and coffee shops are set to be busiest this year, with 57 per cent of holiday goers choosing to spend the largest amount of their holiday budget at these retailers.

There’s good news for small independent shops as well, with nearly half of tourists saying they’ll buy goods from them while they’re on holiday.

71 per cent of retail employees say they’ve seen an increase in business as a direct result of Brits holidaying in their area.  And nearly two in 10 estimate their employers’ sales have increased by more than 25 per cent since lockdown restrictions eased.

Nearly two thirds of retail workers are happy about the increase in tourism in their area, with nearly half saying it’s exactly the boost their area needs to recover from the pandemic.

And that's not the only good news. According to Lumina Intelligence, the average weekly value of convenience store shoppers increased by six per cent during the four weeks ending 27.06.2021.
The average weekly value of a convenience store shopper increased from £21.68 to £22.98. This increase was driven by an increase in average basket size and visit frequency.
Despite an increase in basket size, there was a decline in the proportion of shoppers on a planned top up mission, with the food to go and meal occasion missions both recording increases versus the previous four week period.

Surprisingly, demand for UK holidays isn’t purely a result of restrictions on foreign travel. The most popular reason for Brits holidaying at home this year is because they want to explore a new area of the UK. This implies that local high streets across the UK may continue to see high levels of demand from tourists even after foreign travel restrictions are lifted.

Encouragingly, regional small businesses are making significant changes to adapt to surging demand. Half have had to employ more staff to deal with the rise in customers, with more than four in ten needing to buy more stock to capitalise on the opportunity.

But only a third  of small businesses have updated their insurance policy to protect new investments they’ve made to capitalise on this demand.

Jane Morgan, SME Product Manager at Direct Line, said: “It’s great that small businesses in the UK will see a £17 billion boost this year thanks to staycations. And encouraging to see Brits prioritising spending with local businesses, helping them to recover from the pandemic.

“As small businesses adapt to increasing demand, it’s essential they continue to review their insurance cover and ensure they keep it up to date. It’s also vital they protect any new investments they might have recently made."

“For those businesses that supply goods, it’s crucial that your stock is protected in case the worst happens."

Nicky Godding is editor of The Business Magazine. Before her journalism career, she worked mainly in public relations moving into writing when she was invited to launch Retail Watch, a publication covering retail and real estate across Europe.

After some years of constant travelling, she tucked away her passport and concentrated on business writing, co-founding a successful regional business magazine. She has interviewed some of the UK’s most successful entrepreneurs who have built multi-million-pound businesses and reported on many science and technology firsts.

She reports on the region’s thriving business economy from start-ups, family businesses and multi-million-pound corporations, to the professionals that support their growth and the institutions that educate the next generation of business leaders.

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