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As the UK gets ready for 2021’s summer of fun, Brits are set to spend £38 billion of their savings living their best lives according to new research1 from Virgin Money. Over £700 per person is expected to be spent enjoying life this summer.

Nearly 39 million people, two thirds of Brits (67%), have saved money since lockdown began, setting aside £2,100 on average. This equates to £117 billion that has been stashed away across the country. Brits have also worked hard to clear debt during lockdown. Over two fifths (41%) have wiped off £1,091 of debt on average, adding up to £59 billion of debt cleared.

Although Freedom Day has been pushed back there is still a strong desire to put these savings to good use and enjoy a summer of fun. In fact, Oxford Economics2 predicts that £75 billion more will be spent across the UK this summer compared to last summer. This is seen in people’s attitudes towards spending, with almost a quarter (23%) planning to spend more frivolously, while over two fifths (44%) feel like treating themselves after a tough year.

The research reveals holidays are the priority for summer spending as over half (56%) of Brits collectively expect to pay out £25 billion on well-deserved breaks. Going to bars and restaurants is a high priority for nearly three quarters (72%) of people, who expect to each spend £233 on hospitality over the summer months. Dressing the part for holidays and hospitality (73%) is equally as important, with £214 per person expected to be spent on summer fashion.

Visiting new places on day trips is another top choice for summer plans as people make the most of domestic travel. Nearly three quarters (68%) hope to head off on an excursion and plan to spend £220 on them throughout the summer.

Virgin Money is making this easier by offering customers who switch to the Virgin Money M Plus or Club M accounts a £150 gift card for Virgin Experience Days3. Switchers can choose between thousands of experiences, from sky diving and flying lessons to spa days, afternoon tea and weekend getaways.

Breakdown of spending per activity

Experience% who plan to spend moneyEquivalent number of peopleAverage spendTotal spend across UK
Holidays56%30.2 million£472£25 billion
Hospitality72%38.9 million£233£12.6 billion
Excursions68%36.7 million£220£11.9 billion
Clothes73%39.4 million£214£11.5 billion
Hobbies57%30.8 million£170£9.1 billion
Personal care/beauty62%33.5 million£165£8.9 billion
hen/stag parties
28%15.1 million£157£8.4 billion
Theatre40%21.6 million£147£7.9 billion
Live sporting events33%17.8 million£135£7.3 billion

Source: Virgin Money, 2021

Spending data from Virgin Money4 shows how much priorities have changed as restrictions have eased. Between March and May, there has been a 91% increase in spending on fashion and a 107% increase in number of fashion related transactions. The same trend is true for spend on holidays (84%), eating out (46%) and travel (53%). In contrast, spend on groceries (-12%) and technology (-9%) has fallen slightly from March to May, as people are able to enjoy life more outside their homes.

Men have saved £2,893 since the pandemic hit, nearly double the amount of women (£1,459), and cleared twice as much debt (£1,408 vs £785). They also expect to spend more as a result (£932 vs £504).

Young people are driving the summer spending splurge, with 25-34 year olds set to spend over £1,300 and 16-24 year olds £1,000. Spending reduces in older age groups; 35-44 year olds expect to part with £743 and 45-54 year olds £336.

Fergus Murphy, Chief Customer Experience Officer at Virgin Money, said: “Nothing will stop us making the most of summer and enjoying all the things we can while we wait for Freedom Day to finally arrive. It’s brilliant that so much has been saved since lockdown and hopefully that can continue, but it’s also fantastic that we can finally enjoy and reward ourselves after a really tough time.

“It’s great to see so many people are feeling happier about money and planning to treat themselves, whether that’s on new clothes, having a holiday or in restaurants. We want 2021 to be the summer of fun, which is why we’ve partnered with our friends at Virgin Experience Days to offer new and existing customers the opportunity to try something different, whether that be adrenaline-fuelled adventures or taking some relaxing ‘me’ time.”

Learn more about our Virgin Money Current Account.

1: Research conducted by Censuswide among a nationally representative sample of 2,033 UK adults between 4th – 7th June 2021

For all extrapolations we are multiplying by 54,098,971. Respondents were asked to select the amount they are planning to spend from a banded answer list, the value used for the mean was the midpoint of the band for each answer.

2: Oxford Economics Data

3: The Virgin Experience Days voucher is available to all Virgin Money M Plus and Club M customers who apply online and complete a full switch using the Current Account Switching Service, including two direct debits set-up on the account, downloading and logging in to the mobile app and who deposit at least £1,000 into a linked savings account within 45 days of the account opening.

The new Brighter Money Bundle replaces the previous switching incentive, which was withdrawn at midnight on 20 June 2021.

The Virgin Money M Plus and Club M accounts can also be opened by Virgin Red customers. Opening the account through the Virgin Red app will make customers eligible to earn 15,000 Virgin Points instead of the Brighter Money Bundle offer. This offer is exclusively available to Virgin Red customers for a limited period, and the qualifying criteria to receive the points are the same as for the Brighter Money Bundle offer.

4: Consumer spending data from Virgin Money of transactions from March – May 2021