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Staycations and socialising push consumer spending up

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07/09/2021
Consumer card spending grew by 15.4 per cent in August, compared to the same period in 2019, with restaurants seeing positive growth for the first time since the start of pandemic.

Barclaycard data shows spending was ahead in all sectors apart from international travel.

Spending in pubs, bars and clubs grew by 43.4 per cent, the highest growth recorded for more than 17 months as Brits enjoyed the holidays.

The boom in summer socialising also had a positive impact on entertainment – such as theatre, festival and theme park tickets – which reached a new high of 24.2 per cent, while taxi and fuel spending also increased to 20.6 per cent and 7.2 per cent respectively.

The gradual return of workers to UK offices, and parents preparing their children for the new school year, gave retailers a boost. Clothing rose for the fourth consecutive month, reaching 33.5 per cent growth online, and 12.8 per cent overall, as shoppers took advantage of end-of-season sales.

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, up 17.5 per cent.

International travel continued to head in the right direction, with travel agents (-55.0 per cent) and airlines (-52.5 per cent) seeing less of a decline than in July (-66.6 per cent and -56.2 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.

However, this optimism could be dampened by concerns about rising prices, as almost two thirds (64 per cent) of consumers worry that everyday items are becoming more expensive, and of those, 42 per cent are already making lifestyle changes as a result.

Raheel Ahmed, head of consumer products at Barclaycard, 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.”

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