New data from Barclaycard, which sees nearly half of the nation’s credit and debit card transactions, reveals how the end of summer has given the economy a boost, while shedding light on inflation concerns.
Barclaycard, whose reports, combine hundreds of millions of customer transactions with consumer research to provide an indepth view of UK consumption claim that consumer card spending rose by 15.4 per cent in August, compared to the same period in 2019, with growth recorded across all sectors apart from international travel.
Spending on non-essential items rose 15.9 per cent – the highest increase since before the first national lockdown, and surpassing July’s high of 10.4 per cent – as consumers continued to spend more on socialising, UK holidays, as well as back-to-school/back-to-office supplies.
In positive news for the hospitality and leisure sector, restaurant spending broke into positive growth for the first time since the pandemic hit (+0.1 per cent), while spending on pubs, bars and clubs reached 43.4 per cent, the highest growth recorded for over 17 months.
The boom in summer socialising also had a positive impact on entertainment and leisure spend – including theme parks tickets – which reached a new high of 24.2 per cent.
Of those returning to the office after having worked from home during the pandemic, 34 per cent plan to spend more on takeaway breakfast or lunch, and 26 per cent intend to up their spending on socialising after work.
Staycations remained popular throughout August as spending on hotels, resorts and accommodation grew for the third consecutive month, compared to 2019, reaching its highest growth recorded since the onset of Covid-19 (+17.5 per cent).
Confidence in the UK economy rose to its highest point (37 per cent) since February 2020 (42 per cent), with 78 per cent of Brits confident in their ability to live within their means each month, and 71 per cent feeling optimistic about their household finances.
Over a third (35 per cent) say rising inflation will make them more likely to seek value in the purchases they make, and 30 per cent are concerned about the impact of inflation on the value of their cash savings. These fears have led to nearly two fifths (37 per cent) of Brits making cut-backs now to ensure they can afford higher outgoings for Christmas.
Raheel Ahmed, Head of Consumer Products, said: “Socialising, shopping, and staycations were top of the agenda for Brits in August, as families and friends made the most of the school holidays, giving a welcome boost to hospitality and leisure businesses. Over the coming months, these sectors should also benefit from Brits returning to the office, as colleagues enjoy long overdue catch-ups over post-work meals and drinks.”