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Consumer spending reaches 13-month high as shoppers enjoy best of British summer

Mon Sep 05 18:30:00 EDT 2016

  • Consumer spending rose 4.2 per cent in August, the highest year-on-year increase since July 2015 thanks to a combination of good weather and holiday-goers firmly committed to overseas travel plans made earlier in the year
  • The surge of sun boosted in-store spend growth to over 1 per cent for the first time also in 13 months, as consumers hit DIY shops, garden centres and pubs and restaurants
  • Consumer sentiment remains muted with only four in ten feeling confident in the UK economy

Consumer spending rebounded in August, up 4.2 per cent year-on-year from muted growth of 2.6 per cent in July, with soaring temperatures encouraging shoppers to splash out on clothing and entertainment.

Data from Barclaycard, which processes nearly half of all the nation’s credit and debit card transactions, indicates consumers took a ‘business as usual’ approach to spending – and followed through on plans they comitted to months in advance – as they saw little change to their disposal income following the outcome of the EU Referendum.

The figures show that spending on experiences and holidays boosted growth in August. Travel spend grew 3.2 per cent to a three-month high, driven by spending on hotels which rose 14.9 per cent, recording its highest year-on-year increase in 24 months. The growth was primarily due to the rising cost of overseas accomodation in line with the depreciation of the pound.

On home soil, cinema spending continued to perform strongly, rising 14.6 per cent, as the release of Finding Dory along with the ongoing success of BFG and Pete’s Dragon made the cinema a key destination for families over the school holiday period.

When they did venture outside, consumers were greeted by warmer weather which inspired them to spend leisure time in the sun, update their summer wardrobes and make home and garden improvements. Pubs (13.3 per cent) and restaurants (12.7 per cent) both saw an uplift and clothing spend jumped 3.4 per cent, up from 1.5 per cent in July.

Meanwhile, spending at garden centres and DIY stores increased 9.5 and 4.5 per cent, respectively, rounding out a great showing for in-store spending growth, which was lifted to 1.4 per cent – the highest figure in 14 months.

Caution still lingers, however, for many consumers: despite the August rise in spending, only 58 per cent of consumers express confidence in their household finances, significantly lower than the average of 71 per cent recorded in 2015. In addition, long-term forecasts for rising prices and subdued wage growth may be responsible for just four in 10 (38 per cent) consumers saying they are confident in the UK economy.

Paul Lockstone, Managing Director at Barclaycard, said:

“Consumer spending has continued to grow after the EU referendum, with August being a particular stand-out month considering confidence in household finances remains low compared to levels seen last year.

“Spending peaks in travel and hotels indicate that most consumers were firmly commited to their summer plans, and spent on trips and excursions they booked months in advance. Yet confidence continues to be shaky as the wider economic picture remains uncertain, suggesting it’s too soon to tell if this lift in spending will last once everyone’s holiday tans have faded.”

 

Y/Y Spend growth by category

Overall

Online

In-store

Clothing

3.4%

15.7%

-0.7%

     Family Clothing

5.3%

14.2%

2.5%

     Shoe Shops

-5.5%

10.5%

-8.9%

     Women’s Clothing

0.6%

19.4%

-7.1%

     Men’s Clothing

1.6%

14.1%

-2.9%

Restaurants

12.7%

17.4%

12.5%

Books, Newspapers & Magazines

75.6%

183.9%

-8.9%

Auto Parts & Accessories

-3.1%

7.3%

-6.0%

Cinema, Theatre & Dance

14.6%

14.8%

14.3%

Public Houses

13.3%

80.1%

12.9%

Department Stores

-0.1%

10.1%

-2.1%

DIY Stores

4.5%

23.6%

2.8%

Travel Agents

0.9%

5.3%

-3.6%

Airlines

2.2%

7.9%

-17.9%

Supermarkets

0.4%

10.2%

-0.2%

Petrol

1.6%

349.5%

1.5%

Gambling

0.1%

15.7%

-17.7%

Vehicle Sales

3.1%

53.0%

2.5%

Hotels

14.9%

52.7%

9.1%

Auto Repair Shops

2.5%

37.6%

1.8%

Sports Shops

0.7%

11.4%

-2.6%

Furniture Stores

-1.3%

6.3%

-2.7%

Telecoms

4.2%

36.0%

-8.5%

Household Appliances

-1.5%

2.4%

-3.0%

Jewellers

0.0%

6.2%

-0.7%

Sports and Games Establishment

7.2%

21.8%

0.8%

Garden Centres

9.5%

24.2%

7.7%

Discount Stores

8.3%

50.9%

3.2%

Gift Shops

-1.7%

-7.2%

0.1%

Employment Agencies

-11.4%

3.7%

-28.1%

Floor Covering Stores

0.4%

16.9%

-0.8%

Tourist Attractions

2.6%

11.3%

-2.2%

Amusment Parks

41.6%

41.5%

41.9%

Aquariums

-27.5%

-66.2%

-8.6%

Electronic Stores

-4.5%

8.2%

-9.5%

Overall

4.2%

13.9%

1.4%

Online share of spend

Clothing

27.6%

Travel Agents

53.1%

Average Transaction Value

Overall

-5.2%

Clothing

1.5%

Airlines

-6.3%

Restaurants

-6.0%

Supermarkets

-5.9%

Petrol

-4.5%

Number of Transactions

Overall

10.0%

Clothing

1.8%

Airlines

9.1%

Restaurants

19.9%

Supermarkets

6.7%

Petrol

6.3%