Home Business News SMEs splash out on staff entertainment as marketing spend drops

SMEs splash out on staff entertainment as marketing spend drops

by LLB Finance Reporter
6th Jul 23 12:00 pm

Today, Revolut Business, the global financial super-app for business finance, is launching its first spending report. To be published monthly, the Revolut Business Spending Report analyses card spend from more than 150,000 businesses in the UK who use the Revolut Business platform to manage their business finances and expenses.

The inaugural spend report shows that while business spending on entertaining experiences for staff is trending upwards, marketing spend, a traditionally large business outlay, has fallen month on month and considerably across the past 12 months.

Revolut Business card spending data shows that business spend in the UK rose in June, up 2.5% from May, with entertainment and services spending categories seeing the biggest increase in transactions month on month (up 9% and 8%) for Revolut Business customers.

June’s card data highlights that businesses are looking to keep their employees entertained this summer. Spending at theatre ticket agencies was up 21% last month, while spend on tourist attractions, museums and exhibits was also up, rising by over two fifths (43%), with transaction volume up 16%. Theme parks also saw a rise, with transactions up 7% month on month and spending up 38% from May.

In the past year, UK business spending on entertainment has risen by over a fourth (28%) and entertainment related card transactions have jumped by 124%, as businesses have taken a renewed interest in offering their staff and clients opportunities to enjoy the arts and culture. Card spend on theatre tickets has risen by 46% in the last 12 months, spend on museums and exhibits has risen by almost half (48%) and theme park spend has increased 73% year on year. Card spend and transactions at bars, cafes, nightclubs and restaurants has also increased in the past 12 months, with both rising by 7%. These insights suggest a longer-term trend of increased business spend on entertaining experiences.

Spending data from Revolut Business shows that UK businesses are also investing more in their image as June saw an increase in spend on art and photography. Businesses spent 24% more on art in June than in May, with transactions at art dealers and galleries rising by over two-fifths (43%) month on month. Card spending on cameras and photography supplies also rose by nearly a third (32%), while transactions at supply stores rose by 15%. In the past year, UK business spend on art has increased by over a third (34%), spend on commercial photography and graphics has risen by 16% and spend on photo developing has also jumped, rising 44%, showing a strong business focus on improving brand image.

Business spend on electronics, digital goods and IT services also rose in June. Card transactions for digital applications rose by a fifth (21%) last month, with year on year card spend on software up 3%. Month on month, spending on digital games rose by a fourth (24%) and spending on computer programming increased by 3%, with transactions up 16%. Spending at electronics stores also rose 7% last month, as businesses sought to improve their digital infrastructure across the board.

While spend on the arts, culture and digital goods is rising, UK business spend on marketing fell in June as transactions dropped by an average of 6% across all direct marketing categories. Card spending on direct marketing with catalogue merchants fell 8%, while inbound telemarketing spend fell by a fifth (20%). This fall comes in contrast to a 34% rise in marketing spend in the month of May. More broadly, in the past year average direct marketing spend has fallen by 30%, with transactions falling by a fifth (21%), suggesting a bigger long-term trend of falling marketing spend amongst UK Revolut Business customers, suggesting that businesses may be retreating away from excess costs during this period of high inflation.

James Gibson, General Manager of Revolut Business said that card data from Revolut Business highlights an interesting shift in business priorities in June.

“UK businesses are spending roughly the same amount of money overall, but it’s shifting in line with seasons and the economic environment. As we move into summer, we see businesses shifting their spending towards entertaining and investing in their image, which could be a result of businesses looking to attract and retain talent in the tight labour market we see at present.

Businesses are spending less than last year on marketing efforts, most likely due to today’s tough economic environment.”

Revolut Business is an all-in-one financial operating system that supports businesses to manage their team spending and expenses. The platform has processed more than £115 billion in transactions since launching in 2017.

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