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Summer of sport, sun & socializing sees consumer spending surge 11.1% in June

Credit and debit card transactions on essential items grew 14.7%

Consumer spending enjoyed a double-digit uplift this June, with Barclaycard reporting that spending on plastic jumped 11.1% compared with the same month in 2019.

Optimism abounds in the report, which highlights resurgent staycation spending on fuel, hotels and resorts lifting the battered travel sector into growth for the first time since the onset of the pandemic.

Optimism abounds with fast food, beer and takeaways

  • Warm weather, a gentle relaxation of lockdown restrictions and the return of sporting events all conspired to tempt Britons out of their houses and into the pub, gardens and traditional holiday resorts to welcome a new mood of optimism – a far cry from the dark days of January.

  • Increased leisure spending has had an immediate and obvious impact on pubs and bars, which registered a healthy 38.1% rate of growth in June – the biggest leap since September 2020.

  • Demand for barbecues and picnics propelled supermarkets (19%) and food and drink specialist stores such as butchers, bakeries and off-licenses (76.4%) on an upward trajectory, with face-to-face retail expanding 9.7% as shoppers returned to clothing and furniture stores en masse.

  • Credit and debit card transactions on essential items grew 14.7%, its quickest pace since before the pandemic began. with discretionary spend up 9.4%.

  • Takeaways and fast-food restaurants pulled in another barnstorming performance with demand surging 146%, propelled by a plethora of food delivery apps and services.

  • The biggest fillip has come courtesy of consumers aged 65 and above, who have accounted for the lion’s share of spending, up 4.7% versus 2019.

Entertainment and restaurants still struggling

  • Entertainment provided more cautious optimism with cinemas, bowling alleys and golf courses all moderating their declines from a precipitous 28.6% drop last month to hold relatively steady on -1.7% this month.

  • Restaurants also eased up on their losses with a fall of -8.4% in June, a significant improvement on a collapse in April and May when the sector slumped 74.4% and 53.2% respectively – attributed largely to the successful vaccine rollout.

Rosy outlook

  • Recent largesse looks set to be replicated when the Tokyo Olympics kicks off, with 41% expecting to spend more time socializing with friends and family over the coming weeks.

  • Raheel Ahmed, head of consumer products at Barclaycard, said: “The start of the Olympics and the expected easing of restrictions later this month should continue to lift spirits and provide more opportunities for get-togethers, whether that’s a weekend break, a meal out or to celebrate sporting victories. It’s great to see Brits making up for lost time over the past year.”

  • This ebullience is reflected in surprisingly strong confidence in household finances and the UK economy, with 70% and 36% of respondents feeling optimistic about micro and macroeconomics respectively.

  • While the good times roll, concerns about the threat of rising prices have become widespread, with 64% of Brits observing higher prices for everyday items as inflation rears its ugly head.

Methodology

  • Barclaycard’s monthly consumer spending index moved to a two-year comparison versus a one-year yardstick in March to take a longer-term view on sentiment.

  • The findings are based on a consumer confidence survey of 2,000 respondents conducted by Longitude Research on behalf of Barclaycard between June 25 and 28.

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