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Consumer spending rises 2.5 per cent as the warm weather entices Brits to visit pubs and restaurants

Tue May 07 19:01:00 EDT 2019

  • Brits took advantage of the sunshine last month, resulting in double-digit growth for pubs and restaurants
  • The retail sector continued to face challenges, with spending on clothing, electronic stores and department stores contracting
  • Airline spending also fell into negative territory at -4.8 per cent – the lowest figure recorded since Barclaycard started tracking this data
  • Consumer confidence in the UK economy rises as Brexit is delayed – yet, consumers remain cautious, as six in ten expect no change to their spending plans in May

Consumer spending grew by 2.5 per cent year-on-year in April, as milder temperatures encouraged Brits to go out and spend, despite ongoing struggles in the retail sector.

Data from Barclaycard, which sees nearly half of the nation’s credit and debit card transactions, shows that essential expenditure grew by 6.2 per cent in April, bolstered by a strong performance from supermarkets (5.8 per cent growth) and an increase in petrol spending of 4.9 per cent.

Non-essential spending overall saw more muted growth of just 1.2 per cent. However, one category that did perform very well was pubs and restaurants, which reached double-digit growth of 13.1 and 10.0 per cent respectively – as Brits made the most of the sunny bank holiday by relaxing and dining out.

Garden centres were also a bright spot, with the unseasonably higher temperatures last month contributing to a rise in spending of 16.2 per cent. Yet, the wider retail sector continued to face challenges, as spending on clothing contracted by 5.2 per cent, as did electronic stores and department stores at 2.0 per cent each.

Notably, the travel industry also saw a decline, with airline spending falling into negative territory at -4.8 per cent – the lowest figure recorded since Barclaycard started tracking this data in 2015.

The Brexit delay, along with warmer weather over the Easter weekend, may be contributing factors to a slight increase in consumer confidence. April saw a rise to 33 per cent of consumers feeling confident in the UK economy, compared to 26 per cent in March.

Furthermore, over a quarter of Brits (27 per cent) admitted the sunshine in April had encouraged increased expenditure. Just under a fifth of UK (19 per cent) adults also said they spent more money than usual on leisure and experiences during Easter. Half of these consumers opted to eat out (52 per cent) or enjoy day trips with family and friends (48 per cent).

Looking forward, many continue to remain cautious with their money, as six in ten (61 per cent) expect no change to their spending plans for May. In addition, only one in ten suggested they are likely to spend on big-ticket items due to the delay in Brexit, indicating consumers remain hesitant to loosen their purse strings.

Esme Harwood, Director at Barclaycard, said: “Warmer temperatures, especially over the Easter weekend, led many consumers to spend on experiences and dining out.  Overall consumer spending in April has remained relatively modest, with the retail sector continuing to struggle.

“While the Brexit delay seems to have brought some short-term relief to consumer confidence, it’s clear that many shoppers still remain cautious about making any big-ticket purchases such as holidays, a new car or investing in home improvements.”

 

Y/Y Spend growth by category

Overall

Clothing

-5.2%

     Family Clothing

-5.5%

     Shoe Shops

-6.4%

     Women’s Clothing

-4.9%

     Men’s Clothing

-6.8%

Restaurants

10.0%

Auto Parts & Accessories

-2.6%

Cinema, Theatre & Dance

4.3%

Public Houses

13.1%

Department Stores

-2.0%

DIY Stores

4.1%

Travel Agents

-4.6%

Airlines

-4.8%

Supermarkets

5.8%

Petrol

4.9%

Gambling

-15.4%

Vehicle Sales

-3.9%

Hotels

1.3%

Auto Repair Shops

-5.2%

Sports Shops

-0.2%

Furniture Stores

-1.9%

Telecoms

2.4%

Household Appliances

-6.6%

Jewellers

3.9%

Sports and Games Establishment

6.5%

Garden Centres

16.2%

Discount Stores

-7.4%

Gift Shops

8.5%

Floor Covering Stores

-2.3%

Tourist Attractions

11.7%

Amusment Parks

18.5%

Aquariums

47.1%

Electronic Stores

-2.0%

Cosmetic Stores

10.1%

Optical Goods

-0.9%

Overall

2.5%

 

Average Transaction Value

Overall

-6.3%

Clothing

0.0%

Airlines

-8.0%

Restaurants

-2.7%

Supermarkets

-2.4%

Petrol

-0.2%

 

Number of Transactions

Overall

9.4%

Clothing

-5.2%

Airlines

3.5%

Restaurants

13.1%

Supermarkets

8.4%

Petrol

5.1%


Notes to editors

For more information please contact Rebecca Butler on +44 (0) 207 116 1993 rebecca.butler@barclaycard.co.uk

The monthly spend data in this release relates to the period 28th Mar 2019 – 24th Apr 2019. It is compared with 28th Mar 2018 – 24th Apr 2018.

The consumer confidence survey used for this release was carried out between 23rd and 25th April 2019 by Longitude Research on behalf of Barclaycard. There were 2,006 respondents, providing a representative sample of UK consumers by age, gender, region, and income group.

About Barclaycard

Barclaycard, part of Barclays Bank PLC, is a leading global payment business that helps consumers, retailers and businesses to make and take payments flexibly, and to access short-term credit and point-of-sale finance. In 2018 we processed nearly £268bn in transactions globally. Barclaycard is a pioneer of new forms of payment and is at the forefront of developing viable contactless and mobile payment schemes for today and cutting-edge forms of payment for the future. We also partner with a wide range of organisations across the globe to offer their customers or members payment options and credit.

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