• Virgin Experience Days finds consumers in the North East are among the biggest thrill-seekers, spending more on driving experiences than any other category
  • 17% of all purchases between since lockdown measures eased were on driving experiences – more than any other region
  • “Days out and tours” (13.4%) and experiences in “food & drink” (11.8%), “adventure” (10.1%), and “short breaks” (8.9%) rounded off the top five most popular experience categories for regional customers

New research by Virgin Experience Days, the UK’s leading provider of gift experiences, has revealed that people in the North East are among the biggest thrill-seekers post-lockdown.

Across Virgin Experience Days’ fourteen categories, “driving” is the most popular in the region, accounting for almost one in five (17%) of the total purchases made – far exceeding the nationwide average (12.8%).

Following driving experiences, “days out and tours” (13.4%) are the next most popular category ahead of “short breaks” (8.9%) – the fifth most popular category – showing consumers in the region are adopting a cautious approach to staycations when emerging from lockdown.

Experiences in “food & drink” (11.8%), “adventure” (10.1%) completed the top five most popular categories for North Eastern consumers.

Virgin Experience Days’ data recorded the popularity of different categories of experiences across the UK from 4th July – when the UK government triggered its most significant easing of restrictions on the hospitality and tourism sector including reopening pubs and restaurants.

Meanwhile, across the rest of the UK, Scottish consumers proportionally spent the most on “flying” experiences (8.7%); “food and drink” experiences were particularly popular among Londoners, accounting for 20% of all their purchases and consumers in East England were most keen for some post-lockdown pampering, with “spa and beauty” experiences accounting for 9.1% of all purchases made – more than any other region.

Richard Hurd-Wood, CEO of Virgin Experience Days, comments:

As one of the industries hardest hit by the pandemic, it’s great to see so many British consumers once again showing confidence in the UK’s hospitality and tourism sector. But as the UK continues to lift itself out of nationwide lockdown, some caution understandably remains.

“The data also reveals a number of interesting trends in consumer behaviour with people in the North East and Scotland particularly keen to let their hair down and enjoy a shot of adrenaline with driving and flying experiences proving popular options. On the other hand, Londoners and consumers in the East of England prefer more relaxing alternatives, choosing food and drink and spa and beauty experiences instead.

“As the sector continues to slowly reopen, summer 2020 has been a fantastic opportunity to showcase the best of Britain and explore the great variety of experiences the nation has to offer safely and responsibly.”