UK Consumer Spending Report

10 January 2020

Barclays Market and Customer Insights unlocks a wealth of customer transaction data and brings it to life so you can take action and shape your strategy.

We can help you keep up-to-date with spending trends, monitor your market position and enhance your understanding of customer behaviour, based on actual customer spending.

Leveraging anonymised data from our 250 million monthly customer transactions in the UK can help you understand who your customers are and how, when, and where they spend.

December 2019 outlook

Consumer spending increased just 1.0% in December, but non-essential spend indicates some signs of cautious consumer optimism

Barclays UK Consumer Spend Report gives you a unique and up to date picture of the nation’s spending habits based on the actual transactions, bringing it to life so you can take action and shape your strategy. 

Our latest report looks at UK Consumer spending patterns to the period 19 November to 22 December 2019.  

Highlights this month:

  • Overall consumer spending grew by just 1.0% in December, driven by a drop in spending on essential items, particularly in supermarkets
  • Spending on non-essentials grew 1.8% year-on-year as consumers reflected greater confidence and cautious optimism following the General Election1
  • Spending on eating and drinking grew 9.7% as consumers enjoyed themselves during the festive period
  • Online spending increased 4.2%, compared to a 1.0% decline in face-to-face expenditure, and now represents 40.3% of all consumer spending.

1Source: Barclaycard Consumer Confidence Survey, December 2019

Big picture spend update

Both overall essential spend and supermarket spending contracted 0.9% year-on-year in December, amid intense pre-Christmas discounting, suggesting consumers switching to budget grocery stores. Petrol expenditure was down 0.5% year-on-year.

Non-essential spending grew by 1.8% compared with December 2018. Bright spots included spending on entertainment, which increased by 5.5%, and eating and drinking, which grew by a combined 9.7%. 

Category snapshot: what are UK consumers spending on?

Clothing spend continued to contract, down by 3.3% again this month. Other specialist retailers, including toy shops and gaming stores, saw a 4.0% decline in spending.

Cinema spend was up 19.0%, likely due in part to the release of Frozen II and the latest Star Wars movie, while shows and concerts saw 2.5% growth compared to falls of 27.6% and 12.3% in November and October respectively.  

Spending in restaurants declined by 2.6% as consumers favoured spending in pubs (up 11.7%) and on fast food and takeaways (up 12.5%).

Channel snapshot: how are UK consumers spending?

Online spending increased 4.2%, compared to a 1.0% decline in face-to-face spending, and now represents 40.3% of all consumer spending. The overall online share of retail spending increased to 36.4% compared to 34.8% for the same time last year.

The online share of general retail spending grew from 54.1% last year to 57.4% this year, with online spending growing by 11.7% while face-to-face contracted by 2.4%. Online spending on clothing grew marginally by 0.2%, compared to a 6.3% decline in face-to-face spending, leaving the online share of clothing spend at 47.9% compared to 46.3% last year.

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