Entertainment saw growth for the first time since the pandemic began, with pubs, bars and clubs experiencing a strong month, as a quarter of Brits admit to dipping into savings to make the most of post-lockdown life.
Data from Barclaycard, which is responsible for close to 50 percent of the nation’s credit and debit card transactions, reveals that spending on non-essential items recorded its highest growth since before the first UK lockdown, up 10.4 per cent. The monthly Consumer Spending Index showed that pubs, bars and clubs had another strong month, recording 30.5 per cent growth when compared to July 2019, as Brits socialised in beer gardens and returned to nightclubs for evenings out.
This comes as one in four consumers say they have been dipping into their savings to make the most of post-lockdown life – a figure that rises to 39 per cent among 18–34-year-olds.
The entertainment industry saw growth for the first time in over 16 months, up 8.1 per cent. This comes as 32 per cent of Brits say they expect to spend more on leisure activities and day trips this summer.
The market for UK staycations continued to see promising growth, with spending on hotels, resorts and accommodation rising 7.8 per cent – its highest growth since before the first coronavirus lockdown.
While confidence in household finances held up at 72 per cent, confidence in the UK economy has dipped slightly, down 3 per cent to 33 per cent. This comes as six in 10 (61 per cent) consumers are worried that everyday expenses will increase as restrictions lift, and more than half (55 per cent) say they are being much more careful to seek value in the purchases they make.
Raheel Ahmed, Head of Consumer Products, said: “July’s major sports fixtures and the heatwave kept the nation in good spirits, providing more reasons to celebrate together, and giving the entertainment industry its long-awaited boost back into growth.
“While some sectors took a small step back as the post-lockdown ‘honeymoon’ period cooled, July was a positive month overall. However, with inflation expected to rise, it will be interesting to see how this impacts consumer spending behaviour over the coming months.”
The Consumer Spending Index was carried out between 23rd and 26th July 2021 by Longitude Research on behalf of Barclaycard. There were 2,000 respondents, providing a representative sample of UK consumers by age, gender, region, and income group.