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Utility bills up 40% in a year

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Spending on utilities jumped 39.6% year-on-year, and rose by 5% in the month to June, data reveals.

Brits are becoming more selective about their spending as the cost-of-living crisis intensifies. As food, energy and fuel bills all skyrocket, spending on essentials in the month grew 4.4%.

Figures from Barclaycard, which sees nearly half of the nation’s credit and debit card transactions, revealed the increased spending is largely driven by a surge in fuel spend (25%) as petrol and diesel prices continue to climb.

For two in five, they said they’re cutting back on energy and water consumption to keep costs down.

Barclaycard also reported that shopping at supermarkets and specialist food and drink stores saw year-on-year decreases of 0.8% and 1.1% respectively. It said half of shoppers are looking for more value from their weekly shop.

However, spending on non-essentials was also up 7.1% year-on-year, though Barclaycard noted this was a lower level of growth from the 11.6% reported in May and 21.2% reported in April.

It said spend in the entertainment industry picked up off the back of blockbuster films such as Top Gun: Maverick and Jurassic World Dominion, resulting in a 5.3% boost on May’s figure.

Sports and outdoor retailers notched up a near 5% increase in spend in the month, while department stores reported a 1.8% increase as Brits geared up to enjoy the warmer weather.

But restaurant spend was down 3.3% compared to June 2021, though there was a 0.8% increase in the month. Bars and pubs saw just a slight 0.1% increase.

Takeaways and fast food remained popular, experiencing a 2.3% month-on-month increase and 9.4% year-on-year increase.

Meanwhile, despite the widespread disruption at airports amid flight cancellations, travel agents saw a 6.4% increase, airlines (2.8%), while hotels and accommodation saw 3.3% monthly growth.

And as the cost of subscriptions rise, Brits are also cutting back here, with this category seeing a 4.2% decline in spend over the month.

José Carvalho, head of consumer products at Barclaycard, said: “The continued rise in fuel, food and energy prices means consumers are having to budget and seek out value where they can for both essential and non-essential purchases.

“While this cautionary approach is impacting supermarket and individual basket spend, there are bright spots to be found, with Brits increasing their discretionary spending on entertainment, travel and takeaways as we head into high summer.”

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