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UK spending priorities revealed: luxuries vs necessities

Central heating, having time off work, and a TV are considered the top three necessities in 2018, while holidays abroad, subscription TV and an upmarket car are Brits’ top luxuries, according to research from Hitachi Capital UK.


The average adult will spend £2,142 each year on the things they could not live without – but splash a comparable £955 annually on more extravagant, luxury buys, it also emerged.

Brits’ Top 5 Luxuries
1. Holidays abroad
2. Subscription TV (e.g. Sky, Virgin)
3. An upmarket car - e.g. SUV
4. On-demand TV (e.g. Netflix, Amazon)
5. A gardener


Brits’ Top 5 Necessities
1. Central heating
2. Regular holiday / breaks from work
3. Television
4. Someone telling you they love you
5. Cups of tea


From a list of 20 indulgences and necessities, a cup of tea to warm the soul, central heating to warm the home and an ‘I love you’ to warm the heart were revealed to be modern-day must-haves.


But one fifth of respondents considered credit cards, chocolate and online shopping to be everyday necessities, and 30 per cent deemed digital banking indispensable.


Comparing luxuries against necessities, eight in 10 considered a ‘luxury’ to be something which you can easily do without on a daily basis, while just over half defined a ‘necessity’ simply as anything which makes the running of day to day life easier.


The research revealed smart phones, sophisticated laptops and social media to be among millennial’s necessities. Whereas the older generation said they could not get by without regular holidays, online banking – and glasses.


Vincent Reboul, managing director, Hitachi Capital Consumer Finance, which commissioned the study of 2,000 adults, said: “The research uncovered our spending priorities, and how much we are prepared to shell out on every day essentials compared to one-off treats. But a clear theme emerged from the research – while we all crave ‘things’, it is just as important to have the time off work to enjoy them, and people to enjoy them with.”


Four in 10 said their ultimate luxury would be an upmarket car such as an SUV, and one quarter considered it to be an electric car. Fittingly enough, one third thought a garage big enough for two cars was the dream indulgence. For a respective third, it was sporting season tickets, games consoles, spray tans and acrylic nails.


One in 10 adults admitted to spending more than £500 on necessities per month, and the same percentage will splash out between £200 and £500 on luxuries.


For nearly half of those surveyed, television and central heating were things they would simply hate to be without – and many said the same for their car, coffee and high-speed broadband.


Vincent Reboul for Hitachi Capital added: “The line between what we perceive to be luxuries and necessities is becoming increasingly blurred, especially with the prevalence of technology and gadgets becoming a must-have rather than nice-to-have. In fact, the majority of items deemed to be essential to our lives all revolve around technology – showing just how the needs and priorities of consumers are shifting.”


BRITS’ TOP LUXURIES
1. Holidays abroad (56%)
2. Subscription TV (e.g. Sky, Virgin) (44%)
3. An upmarket car - e.g. SUV (40%)
4. On-demand TV (e.g. Netflix, Amazon) (39%)
5. A gardener (39%)
6. Someone to do the ironing (37%)
7. Going business class on the train / plane (37%)
8. Garage big enough for two cars (35%)
9. Getting a blow dry in the salon (34%)
10. Designer handbag (34%)
11. Takeaways (34%)
12. Designer shoes (34%)
13. Football season ticket (33%)
14. Visiting the theatre (33%)
15. Gaming consoles (31%)
16. Acrylic / shellac nails (31%)
17. A nanny (30%)
18. Plastic surgery (30%)
19. Jewellery (30%)
20. AGA cooker (or equivalent) (29%)


BRITS’ TOP 20 NECESSITIES
1. Central heating (56%)
2. Regular holiday / breaks from work (54%)
3. Television (49%)
4. Someone telling you they love you (40%)
5. Cups of tea (39%)
6. Car (37%)
7. Glasses (36%)
8. Smart phone (33%)
9. High speed broadband (32%)
10. Microwave (30%)
11. Coffee (30%)
12. Iron (29%)
13. Online banking (29%)
14. Chocolate (26%)
15. Online shopping (22%)
16. Good mobile phone signal (19%)
17. Credit cards (18%)
18. Dishwasher (14%)
19. Sat nav (12%)
20. Tablet (12%)

  • Brits spend £2,142 per year on necessities such as central heating and regular breaks from work

  • And £955 on luxuries including subscription TV and a gardener