UK ‘leads Europe’ in spending growth

The UK led Europe in terms of year-on-year spending growth in May, according to Mastercard’s latest data.

The UK’s spending growth has been particularly driven by a rise in in-store sales, which are up 42 per cent compared to 2021, and up 24.1 per cent compared to pre-pandemic levels.

Online sales haven’t fared so well however, decreasing 6.5 per cent compared to this time last year.

Spending on restaurants saw the biggest growth of any segment the data looked at, rising 101.9 per cent.

Holiday accommodation spending also saw significant growth, rising 84.4 per cent, which Mastercard said reflected pent up demand for travel left over from the pandemic.

Not all consumer segments experienced growth, spend on electronics decreased 35 per cent, the most compared to 2021 of any of the sectors looked at, and furniture spending was also down 10.2 per cent.

The trend of consumers flocking in-store rather than online remained consistent among most of the European countries looked at.

Spain recorded the largest rise in in-store sales - 57.4 per cent - while its online sales only rose 2.5 per cent.

The UK and Spain’s online retail markets were comparatively resilient however, online sales in Germany fell 27.1 per cent, while those in France and the Czech Republic fell 17.9 per cent and 20.1 per cent, respectively.

Mastercard’s figures were not adjusted for inflation.

“The consumer is the heart of the economy,” said Mark Barnett president at Mastercard Europe. “By drawing on our unique retail sales insights, we’re able to provide a near real-time pulse of consumer health and trends.”

He added: “This helps businesses and governments alike understand today’s consumer, and ultimately adapt to their ever-changing needs across channels.”

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