UK consumer spending up 15.4%

Consumer spending grew across all sectors in August compared to 2019, with the exception of international travel.

Overall consumer card spending was up by 15.4 per cent across the period, according to the latest figures from Barclaycard.

“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,” said Raheel Ahmed, head of consumer products, Barclaycard. “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.”

Spending on essential items grew 14.5 per cent in August, compared to the same period in 2019, bolstered by spending at supermarkets and food and drink specialist stores, which were up 15.2 per cent and 76.9 per cent respectively.

Non-essential items rose 15.9 per cent – the highest increase since before the first national lockdown, and surpassing July’s high of 10.4 per cent – as consumers continued to spend more on socialising, UK holidays, and back-to-school / back-to-office supplies.

The gradual return of workers to UK offices and children starting a new school year, has also given retailers a welcome boost.

Clothing rose for the fourth consecutive month, reaching 33.5 per cent growth online, and 12.8 per cent overall.

Department stores also benefited, recording a 4.4 per cent increase, marking this the second month of growth since the start of the pandemic – with the first in May this year – when UK spend was up 8.6 per cent – after non-essential shops had just reopened.

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