Retail banking, Research

Bouji Brits are set to live their best lives this summer

  • Bouji Brits are set to spend £38 billion living their best lives this summer
  • Young people are driving the splurge with 25-34 year olds set to spend over £1,300 per person
  • Five-star hotels, luxury holidays, days out and summer fashion lead the spending priorities, with pandemic fatigue meaning switching off and having fun is more important than ever
  • Virgin Money is helping people enjoy the 2021 summer of fun with its latest switching offer which includes a £150 Virgin Experience Day gift card

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

Living life to the max in a post-restriction world is driving 27 million* (51%) people to put their money to good use on big or upgraded purchases this year. A fifth of respondents (19%) hope to stay in a five-star hotel or go on a luxury holiday**, while 1 in 10 plan on getting a tattoo (11%), increasing to a quarter (25%) of 16-24 and 25-34 year olds. Many are planning to visit a Michelin Star restaurant (9%) or even treat themselves to flying first class/ business class (6%).

The desire to live like a celebrity and enjoy gold standard experiences at a fraction of the cost seems to be a driving factor for those who plan to rent services usually only enjoyed by the rich and famous. Hiring a private masseuse (7%), luxury car (6%) private chef (4%) and even a butler (4%) are popular options. One in 16 (6%) of Brits are hoping to go under the knife and treat themselves to cosmetic surgery, compared to one in eight (14%) of 25-34 year olds.

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.

Spending priorities

Virgin Money’s research reveals holidays once restrictions allow 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 no domestic travel restrictions and enjoy trips to different places. Nearly three quarters (68%) hope to head off on an excursion and plan to spend £220 on them throughout the summer (*Full spending breakdown in table, below).

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.

Fergus Murphy, Chief Customer Experience Officer at Virgin Money, said: “Following months of lockdown restrictions, this is a big moment for Brits who are re-embracing their social lives and making up for lost time. It was inevitable that we’d see people hitting bars and restaurants, as well as their favourite high street stores, but it’s fascinating to see the more unusual spending desires with consumers clearly intending to treat themselves this summer. This is also reflected in our own customer spending data which shows a 91% uplift in spending on fashion between March and May 2021, as well as a 107% increase in number of fashion related transactions. The same trend is true for spend on holidays (84%), eating out (59%) and travel (25%).”

Saving grace

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

Men lead the way in lockdown saving, debt clearing and summer spending plans. They have saved £2,893 since the pandemic hit, nearly double the amount of women (£1,459), cleared twice as much debt (£1,408 vs £785) and expect to spend more as a result (£932 vs £504).

Fergus Murphy at Virgin Money said: “It’s great to see so many people are feeling happier about money and planning to treat themselves. 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 Club M Account.

*1,032 respondents plan to or have already done any of the following: fly first class/ business class, stay in a five star hotel, hire a private chef, hire a butler, go to a Michelin star restaurant, hire a luxury car, hire a private masseuse, hire a nanny, go on a luxury holiday, get cosmetic surgery, get a tattoo, buy a house, buy a boat, buy a holiday home, build a home gym, buy a designer dog or buy a campervan. (1,032/2,033 = 50.7%. 0.507 x 54,098,971 = 27 million)

**Once any travel restrictions lift

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 gift card 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. You can find out more information about the switching offer at Virgin Money Current Account | Brighter Money Bundle | Virgin Money UK.

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.

Breakdown of spending per activity

Experience % who plan to spend money Equivalent number of people Average spend Total spend across UK
Holidays 56% 30.2 million £472 £25 billion
Hospitality 72% 38.9 million £233 £12.6 billion
Excursions 68% 36.7 million £220 £11.9 billion
Clothes 73% 39.4 million £214 £11.5 billion
Hobbies 57% 30.8 million £170 £9.1 billion
Personal care/beauty 62% 33.5 million £165 £8.9 billion
hen/stag parties
28% 15.1 million £157 £8.4 billion
Theatre 40% 21.6 million £147 £7.9 billion
Live sporting events 33% 17.8 million £135 £7.3 billion

Source: Virgin Money, 2021