UK Consumers Affected by Cost of Living Crisis Twice as Likely to Cut Back on Food as Entertainment

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Photo Credit: Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA)

Consumers in the UK faced with the cost of living crisis are twice as likely to cut back on food as entertainment, according to new data presented at the annual Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA) conference.

A new study from research specialists Luminate shows that consumers in the UK affected by the cost of living crisis are twice as likely to cut back on food as entertainment. The study is based on a sample size of 2,000 participants and was presented at the Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA) annual conference.

The data, presented by Luminate Senior Research Analyst Saskia Allan, outlines that while 50% of people say they would economize on eating out or getting takeout due to the cost of living crisis, only 27% say they would cut back on entertainment subscriptions. In comparison, just 25% say they would reduce their purchases of CDs, DVDs, books, magazines, and games.

“These are extraordinary numbers,” says ERA CEO Kim Bayley. “They show that entertainment is prized extremely highly by UK consumers and demonstrates the incredible work done by streaming services and entertainment retailers alike in inspiring music, video, and games fans. These numbers bode well for the industry as the cost of living crisis continues to bite.”

In 2022, the combined sales of music, video, and games in the UK reached £11.1 billion ($13.7 billion), up 40% over the past five years.

Other topics of interest during the ERA conference include the music industry’s evolving view of artificial intelligence and “the next frontier of streaming.” AI expert and former Sony Music exec Gareth Deakin reported that there has been a distinct “thawing in music industry attitudes to AI” since he first began to champion the technology in 2017.

“Back then I had to escape out of the side entrance because people wanted to beat me with sticks,” he jokes. “The industry wasn’t ready. Where we are right now is interesting and positive. Things are moving forward. What is most interesting is that even then, we were able to create from a musical fidelity perspective incredible-sounding instrumental music. But the moment you clone a voice of someone singing, the entire industry explodes, which tells you something about how the industry values creativity and music content.”

Economist Will Page pointed out that with a majority of existing music streaming subscribers using iOS devices, future growth will need to come from Android users in a process being referred to as “Android fracking.”

“The first 25 million streaming subscribers are on Apple iOS devices. That means the next 25 million are going to have to come from Android, and that isn’t going to be easy and it’s not going to be cheap. That will affect subscriber acquisition costs and lifetime value.”

Further, ERA Chair Ben Drury unveiled a new document that UK streaming services and retailers have agreed over the past six months for the future of the business. Companies ranging from Spotify, Amazon, YouTube, independent record shops, and gaming retailers argue that the key to further growth lies in technology combined with the passion for entertainment which characterizes the sector.