UK Consumer Spending Report

10 October 2019

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.

October outlook

Consumer spending was up 1.5% year-on-year in October, narrowly falling behind the current inflation rate, as consumers spent carefully.

Barclays UK Consumer Spending 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 between the period 22 September to 20 October 2019.  

Highlights this month

  • Consumer spending grew just 1.5% in October, down from 1.6% in September and below the current rate of inflation, reflecting weak consumer confidence
  • Essential spending barely grew, achieving only a 0.2% increase year-on-year, while spending on non-essentials was up 2.0%, a slight improvement on the 1.8% growth seen in September
  • Travel, hotels and holiday accommodation have seen stronger spending growth this month, along with the eating and drinking category, while retail remains subdued
  • The ongoing shift to online spending continued, while a boost in spending on takeaways and digital content suggests a trend for more people staying in.

Big picture spend update

Spending on essentials saw a marginal rise of just 0.2%, well below inflation, due in part to lower fuel prices compared to the same time last year. Supermarkets saw modest spending growth of 1.5%.

Non-essential spending rose by 2.0% year-on-year, reflecting a subdued retail environment. Spending on entertainment fell by 3.0%, while takeaways and fast food saw 6.9% growth, bars, pubs and clubs were up 5.5% and restaurants 4.2%.

Category snapshot: what are UK consumers spending on?

In a quiet month for retail, clothing spending fell again by 0.3%, reflecting ongoing challenges faced by retailers. Home improvement and DIY spending dropped 3.2%, however, grocery retailers saw a modest 1.7% growth.

Hospitality and leisure saw a lift, growing by 5.4% overall. Travel was up 7.4% while spending on hotels and resorts rose 3.1%, mostly driven by customers rebooking following the collapse of Thomas Cook. There was a marked decline of 3.9% in fuel spend, due to lower prices in comparison to October last year, which saw record high prices.

Channel snapshot: how are UK consumers spending?

The gradual trend away from in-store spending continued, with a 0.8% fall set against a 4.9% increase in online spend. Online digital content and subscription spending rose by 8.1%, while online eating and drinking spend rose 19%, reflecting a preference for staying in.

Entertainment spend online fell 4.9% year-on-year, likely to be caused by lower event ticket prices resulting from industry-wide changes for online ticket resellers. Motoring spend saw a 4.8% increase online in contrast to the 1.3% drop in overall expenditure in that category.

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