Holiday budgets are under pressure as consumers cut back on non-essential spending, according to new research from business intelligence research consultancy Future Thinking.

More than a quarter of families (26%) have attempted to cut back their holiday spending in the last 12 months, while only 9% of families have managed to fully ringfence their holiday budgets.

The findings come from the company's annual Shopper Barometer study, which surveyed more than 2,000 respondents from across the UK.

Despite the pressures on budgets, holidays were more important than paying down debt if consumers received a boost in income. With an extra £17 a week of income, respondents said they would rather put that money into holidays (30%) than pay down their debt (20%).

However, some people are also taking more radical steps to keep costs down and emptying their holiday budget altogether. Some 12% of the total population and 7% of families said they would not take any holidays in the coming year.

Other findings from the research included we spend on average nine nights a year staying at hotels for leisure, and seven nights a year for business; two in five (42%, up from 31% last year) were concerned about the state of the economy over the next 12 months; only 19% of respondents felt positive about the state of the UK economy, dropping from one in three (35%) Brits last year; and one in three of us (37%) are pulling back from clothes shopping and eating and drinking out.

Noreen Kinsey, head of retail and leisure at Future Thinking, said: “With economic uncertainty on the horizon, it’s no surprise that people are seeking out better deals, cheaper options and more opportunities to save. Holiday budgets have clearly been put under pressure, with a quarter of families cutting back their holiday spending in the last year.

“However, while families are being forced to cut back, holidaymakers are still keen to put more money back into their holiday budgets – to the point that nearly a third of us would rather put a small boost in income into holidays than pay down debts. Travel companies planning their holiday packages for the New Year would do well to adapt to these cautious yet eager holidaymakers.”

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