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Olivia Stock
17 August 2023, 14:52

Cost of living crisis causes one third of young people in UK to cut back on nights out, data reveals

Higher rent was cited as a primary factor for those aged between 25 and 34 years old, according to Rekom UK

Photo of people dancing in a blue-lit nightclub
Sarah Ginn

More than a third of young people in the UK have reduced how frequently they go on a night out due to the cost-of-living crisis, a recent survey has revealed.

Rekom, the UK’s leading late-night operator, commissioned a survey which spoke to 2,007 people aged 18 and over about how their behaviours towards nightlife have changed since autumn 2022.

The Night Index revealed that compared to last year, more than one in three (34.9%) respondents said they are not going out as much, with higher rent cited as a primary concern for more than a fifth of people (21.19%) aged between 25 and 34 years old.

More expensive bills (43%) and the need to save any extra disposable income (33%) were also cited as reasons for cutting back on nights out, with those in full-time work reporting going out an average of 1.8 times a week compared with 2.2 nights out for employees.

The survey revealed that pricing remains a key factor for young people when deciding whether to go out or not, with this increasing by 6% since the last Rekom Night Index in March 2023. Cheap or free-entry to clubs were also an important factor for 27.8% of respondents, while 27% noted that good-value drinks were a priority.

Peter Marks, chairman of Rekom UK, said “Our Night Index continues to show that due to the challenging economic situation, young people are going out less and choosing more cost-effective ways of socialising as they look to save any spare cash they can for more pressing financial priorities such as rent or general living bills. This will have a knock-on effect for the whole of the night-time economy.”

“We should take this survey as a warning to sit up and take note of what’s going on – we hope that these findings highlight to all those trading in the industry the importance of remaining flexible in responding to changes in consumer behaviours.”

The shift in spending habits paired with rising operational costs has had a disastrous effect on the late-night and clubbing industries, with the Night Time Industries Association revealing that the UK lost 31% of nightclubs between June 2020 and June 2023. Independent nightclubs were the most affected, with 35% closing since 2020.

“The culture of buying tickets has changed enormously,” independent venue owner Kate Hodgkinson told DJ Mag back in November, noting that ticket sales to club nights have been “very erratic” since the cost-of-living crisis hit. “The pandemic forced everyone into a fear response — now the rising cost of living is doing the same,” she added. “People are frightened to buy things in advance because they don’t know what’s going to happen next.”

Rekom UK executive director Russell Quelch noted that the late-night sector must “adapt and evolve” in response to these changing behaviours. “There are definitely opportunities out there – it’s all about having the right strategy and proposition at the right time and engaging with the market,” he said. “These factors are even more important during tough economic times where disposable income is lower than ever before.”

Revisit DJ Mag’s long-form feature on how the cost-of-living crisis is hitting UK nightlife here.