Barclaycard: consumer spending up 4.5% as Brits enjoy final stretch of summer

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Data from Barclaycard, which sees nearly half of the nation’s credit and debit card transactions, shows that essential spending performed well with 6.9% year-on-year growth, bolstered by a rise in supermarket expenditure of 5.0%. As fuel prices remained at their highest for several years, petrol spending climbed 10.9%.

Non-essential expenditure, meanwhile, demonstrated growth of 3.4%, indicating that consumers are balancing their budgets to cover the necessities while allowing for some discretionary spending. The trend of spending on experiences continued with entertainment up 10.3%, driven by growth in ticket sales (8.6%) and pub spending (11.9%).

However, not all categories enjoyed the same boost. As consumers put off buying new autumn and winter wardrobes due to a warm August, clothing expenditure reported just 0.6 per cent growth, with women’s and men’s clothing sales contracting slightly at -0.9 and -0.3% respectively.

Garden centres also took a dip from previous months, rising just 0.5%. This is in stark contrast to the double-digit growth in earlier months which saw Brits buy plants and tools to tidy up their outdoor areas, and make the most of the sunshine by enjoying barbeques with friends and family.

Having spent more than usual over summer, a third of consumers (34%) say they are now planning to reduce their expenditure. Of these consumers, 44% say they’ll do so by cutting back on treats for themselves, while 39% say they’ll spend less on entertainment, such as going to restaurants or having nights out.

A degree of uncertainty about the future is also likely to be driving this caution. Nearly six in ten Brits (58%) are worried that rising inflation will leave them with less money to spend each month, while a similar proportion (56%) are concerned that rising energy prices will leave them worse off.

Esme Harwood, Director at Barclaycard, said: “Brits have been feeling confident enough in their spending power to enjoy summer events and evenings out. However, it’s clear they’ve struck a balance between spending on essentials and treating themselves.

“Looking ahead, it appears that many consumers are planning to tighten their belts and keep a closer eye on their finances after spending more than usual over summer.”