Low income households spend just £3.75 per week on active sport per week ​​​​​​​

This updated research, undertaken by the Sport Industry Research Centre at Sheffield Hallam on behalf on StreetGames, presents an estimation of 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).

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

The infographic below demonstrates the disparity between the leisure spending of low income households versus the average household across a range of categories.


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