Drinking in pubs is still the top leisure activity in Britain while late-night clubbing is losing its appeal, according to a new report. And the report's authors predict drinkers will shun late-night clubs in favour of pubs when closing times are relaxed under reform. Britons spent £17.5bn on alcohol in pubs last year more than twice the combined amount spent on other leisure activities. But the market for nightclubs fell from £2.2bn in 1998 to £1.7bn in 2002. The survey, by research firm Mintel, showed just under half of all leisure money is spent on drinks in pubs, with around a quarter going on gambling and the remainder on other entertainment and sports activities including nightclubs. Mintel's leisure consultant Mark Brechin said: "Nightclubs have suffered recently because of competition from late-night bars, especially in town centres, that have extended their product mix to include sports and live music and serve cheaper drinks. "Our own research suggests people would prefer to stay in the pub if they could, rather than go to the club to carry on drinking." But the report warned the leisure industry as a whole "will have its work cut out" to improve growth rates amid stiff competition from home entertainment and foreign holidays. "Addressing the needs of children, of older people, of non-smokers and non-drinkers is becoming more urgent," it said. Spending actually fell in recent years from 53% in 1998 to 50% in 2002 a drop attributed to the rise of leisure industries such as health and fitness clubs, rather than pubs losing their appeal.