Card spending jumps 18% in April

Consumer card spending grew by just over 19 per cent last month compared to pre-pandemic levels, the highest uplift since October 2021, according to figures from Barclaycard.

The card provider said that the hike in spending was driven by holiday bookings. However, it explained that rising living costs are starting to impact both retail and hospitality.

“The impact of rising living costs on consumer spending is starting to show, with a number of categories – including subscriptions, takeaways, and bars, pubs & clubs – seeing less growth than in March as Brits begin to feel the pinch,” said José Carvalho, head of consumer products at Barclaycard.

Spending on essential items was up 17 per cent, slightly less than in the previous month. This was largely due to spend on fuel falling from a record 26 per cent increase last month to 23 per cent in April.

Shopping at supermarkets and food and drink specialist stores grew 16 per cent and 76 per cent respectively compared to the same period three years ago. But this was a slightly smaller uplift than in March, which grew 17 per cent and 77 per cent respectively. This likely reflects that Brits are looking at ways to save money as prices increase.

52 per cent of these shoppers are now cutting down on luxuries, with 47 per cent buying budget or own brand goods over branded goods, and 38 per cent using vouchers or loyalty points to obtain discounts.

The Barclaycard data shows that the proportion of Brits feeling concerned about the impact of higher household bills on their finances remained high at 90 per cent.

Despite this, spending on non-essential items grew 18 per cent in April compared to the same period in 2019, representing a small uplift from March.

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