By Daniel Hunter

Restaurants saw the biggest rise in spending during the period leading up to and covering the Olympic Games, as Britons celebrated London 2012 and the success of Team GB in style, according to new research by Lloyds TSB.

Based on Lloyds TSB’s own data, spending in restaurants rose by an average of 11.5% annually during the Olympic period. This increase is almost double the growth in spending on health and beauty products (6.6%), the spending category that recorded the second biggest increase.

In addition, to the possible boost from the Olympics, the rise in restaurant spending is also likely to have been driven by a number of other factors including the period of warmer weather during the games. Health spending may also have seen an Olympic boost with spectators inspired by the achievements of the world’s best athletes on their doorstep to adopt healthier lifestyles over the period.

Eight of the nine spending categories identified recorded a rise in spending compared with a year earlier. Food and drink saw the third biggest increase during the Olympic period with spending up 6.0% on a year ago, followed by electrical stores (4.8%). In contrast, auto fuel was the only spending category to record a fall (-1.5%). Overall, spending across the UK during the Olympic period was 3.9% higher compared with a year earlier.

Regionally, expenditure growth on restaurants was highest in Northern England (14.5%) and spending growth on food and drink was highest in London (7.8%). In contrast, the capital also recorded the biggest drop on spending on auto fuel (-6.9%).

Men spent more than women on Olympic tickets

Nearly two-thirds (63%) of expenditure on Olympic tickets was made by men. Men spent an average of £295 on Olympic tickets, 29% (£67) higher than the average of £228 spent by women. However, some of the disparity may well be due to a greater propensity for men rather than women to pay for family trips to the Olympics. The widely documented last minute rush for tickets was also reflected in the spending data with almost half (47%) of Olympic ticket expenditure taking place in the past four months.

Unsurprisingly, the largest proportion of Olympic tickets was purchased by Londoners (35%). Those living in Southern England (33%) accounted for the second highest proportion of tickets bought, followed by the East of England (23%).

“During the Olympics, the restaurant sector saw the strongest rise in spending growth, possibly boosted by those looking to enjoy the party atmosphere generated by the Olympics," Suren Thiru, economist at Lloyds TSB, commented.

"The welcome arrival of the warm weather that coincided with London 2012, following months of rain, is also likely to have been a contributing factor.

“Hosting London 2012 appears to have provided a welcome boost to consumer spending in some sectors. The rise in spending in the top three categories could all be partly linked back to either celebrating the event or consumers being inspired by what they were watching.”

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