Football 'feelgood factor' expected to boost economy


The European Championships are expected to deliver a timely boost to the UK economy as the football "feelgood factor" drives up consumer spending, a report said.

Despite never having won the championships, England's involvement in previous tournaments has led to a sharp rise in spending, which has bolstered retailers and helped the wider economy, according to research by Lloyds Bank.

It found that in the years of the championships since 1996, England has seen average consumer spending growth step up from 0.26% to 0.41% between the second and third quarter.

It added that the biggest rise came in 1996 when England was the host nation and reached the last four, with consumer spending growth rising 0.32% before the tournament to 1.28% afterwards. 

The news will be welcome relief following a spate of dour warnings indicating that Brexit fears are impacting growth. 

Experts also believe the appearance of England, Wales and Northern Ireland in this year's tournament will bring an added boost to retail sales compared to previous years, with more people upgrading their TVs for the big games, buying more snacks and alcohol, forking out money on souvenirs or watching the games in the pub.

Nitesh Patel, economist at Lloyds Bank, said: "Successful Euros campaigns have tended to have a positive short-term impact on the mood of consumers in those nations.

"Whilst many other factors will be at play driving consumer spending and GDP growth, the research shows that there are generally rises in spending growth during the period of the event that tend to drop off later on in the year, once the euphoria wears off.

"This suggests that part of the consumer spending and GDP growth during this period may be due to the 'feelgood' factor associated with sporting success. Wales and Northern Ireland, who have qualified for the event for the first time, may well experience a greater benefit than England."

Howard Archer, chief European and UK economist at IHS Economics, added: "The better the home nation countries do, the greater the potential boost to the economy. If there are widespread early exits, there will be a large number of souvenirs and perhaps replica kits in the bargain buckets

"However, there is the possibility that some of this spending will be displaced from other areas. And also many people will have likely upgraded their TV's sooner or later anyway and just brought it forward

"On the downside, there is the possibility that there will be a small hit to productivity from people watching the games on TV when they would otherwise be working.

"There could also be some people taking their holidays in France to watch the football, who would otherwise have taken them at home. However, I suspect that these potential negative factors will be slight."