Consumer spending drops by more than 26% from last year, says Barclaycard

By Aisling Finn on Tuesday 9 June 2020

Digital Banking

Online spending continues to reach new heights, while spending on eating and drinking is slowly recovering.

Consumer spending drops by more than 26% from last year, says Barclaycard
Image source: Barclays


Figures from Barclaycard released today show that consumer spending has fallen by 26.7 per cent from May 2019.

Spending on essential items rose slightly by just under one per cent, while spending in supermarkets jumped by 24.5 per cent throughout May, including a 27 per cent jump in the week before VE Day.

Consumers spent 36.9 per cent less on non-essential items in May, a smaller drop than in April when spending on non-essential items fell by 79.1 per cent, with people spending 44.5 per cent and 42.4 per cent less with department and clothing stores respectively.

Similarly, consumers spent 49.7 per cent less on fuel in May 2020 compared to May 2019.

Eating out continues to suffer as a result of the coronavirus crisis, spending in UK eateries is down by 70.3 per cent from May 2019, again a slight increase on April where spending on food and drink was 79.1 per cent lower in 2020 than in 2019.

Barclaycard also found that, under lockdown, consumers are spending more in independent retailers.

Specialist food and drink outlets, such as greengrocers and independent convenience stores saw a growth of 42.5 per cent in May—the highest increase since lockdown began.

Online retailers are also seeing a significant boost to spending under lockdown. 

Consumers spent 96.3 per cent more at specialist online retailers and 85.8 per cent more in general online retailers in May 2020 than they did in May 2019.

Esme Harwood, director at Barclaycard, said: “It may take some time to recover from the economic impact of coronavirus but household confidence remains high and there is a strong desire among consumers to support businesses”

“After weeks of isolating, Brits are understandably keen to enjoy the great outdoors. There’s a positive shift for the cafes, pubs and restaurants beginning to open up again, as well as the retailers who stock essentials for barbecues and other socially distanced gatherings,” she added.

The report from Barclaycard also found that despite consumer spending gradually returning to normal, confidence in the UK economy remains low—just 20 per cent of UK adults feel positive.

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