Consumer spend on lifestyle luxuries up in 2012

Almost half consider holidays an essential

Britons’ total spend on luxury lifestyle items rose by 6% this year, according to figures from LV=.

The insurer’s annual ‘lifestyle inflation index’ shows that consumers spent a total of £158bn in the year to August 2012 on things such as holidays, meals out and gym memberships, up from £149bn the previous year.

The top ten ‘lifestyle essentials’ were found to have an overall inflation rate of 3.2%, 1% higher than the latest available figure for the Consumer Price Index rate of inflation.

The average annual spend on such items is £6,194 per household, up from £5,850 in 2011.

Close to half (44%) of people consider holidays and weekend breaks to be a lifestyle essential, while 27% of people think the same about meals out, and 22% about TV subscriptions.

The remaining top 10 'essentials' were nights out, takeaways, culture and arts, gym memberships, trips to the cinema and premium foods.

In order to afford such items, more than three quarters say they are making cutbacks in other areas of household spending, such as buying cheaper food and clothing.

Mark Jones, head of protection at LV=, said it is “no surprise” that in tough economic times people are making cutbacks in other areas in order to maintain small luxuries.

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