Leisure Spending Patterns of Low Income Households

This infographic displays data from research undertaken by the Sport Industry Research Centre at Sheffield Hallam on behalf on StreetGames, looking at the spending patterns of low-income households (bottom 20% in terms of income) on leisure activities for the year 2019 (the most recent data release). It demonstrates the disparity between the leisure spending of low income households versus the average household across a range of categories.

Key Points

  • The overall identified leisure spending, for the whole population, (from Family Spending) approaches £206 billion.
  • The average household spent £7,395 on leisure in 2019, whilst the average household in the bottom 20% income group spent just £2,826, i.e. just 38.2% of that spent by an average income household.
    • This represents a small increase in comparison to 2016, when the leisure spending the average low-income household was 34.9% of the equivalent population mean.
  • When we take the number of households into account, the 5,563 households in the target group are responsible for 7.6% of leisure spending. This is to be contrasted with the overall spending pattern: 9.0% of overall spending is associated with the bottom 20% of the income distribution (Family Spending).  In other words, the low-income households (20%) are responsible for 9.0% of total spending but only 7.6% of leisure spending, revealing a leisure deficit of 1.6%. This is mainly due to the greater proportional importance of essential items such as food and housing among low-income households.
  • Spending on Active Sport increased from a share of 26% in 2016 to 30% in 2019.  However, in real terms, this equates to just £195 per annum average for a low-income household – which is significantly lower than average earning households who typically spend £659 per annum on active sport. In turn, this equates to just £3.75 per week compared to an average weekly spend of £12.68 for an average income household. 

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