Bouji Brits are set to live their best lives this summer

29th July 2021

The latest Virgin Money research shows living life to the max in a post-restriction world is driving 27 million* people to put their money to good use on big or upgraded purchases this year.

A fifth of respondents hope to stay in a five-star hotel or go on a luxury holiday**, while 1 in 10 plan on getting a tattoo, increasing to a quarter of 16-24 and 25-34 year olds. Many are planning to visit a Michelin Star restaurant or even treat themselves to flying first class/ business class.

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, luxury car private chef and even a butler are popular options. One in 16 of Brits are hoping to go under the knife and treat themselves to cosmetic surgery, compared to one in eight 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 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.

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, eating out and travel.”

Saving grace

Nearly 39 million people, two-thirds of Brits 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 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 here.

*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

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