How did UK Consumers Spend their Cash in 2022?

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New data has revealed that consumer card spending grew by 10.6% in 2022 as the UK chose to socialise and holiday abroad after all lockdowns were de-restricted.

Data from Barclaycard’s monthly Consumer Spending Index has revealed that the amount spent on its debit and credit cards rose year-on-year as people returned to shopping in-store, eating, and drinking out and booking holidays.

The lifting of pandemic restrictions meant pubs recorded growth of 37.1% and bars and clubs an increase of 53.6%.

However, consumer card spending also increased due to rising inflation, with cards being used for essential items, such as fuel and energy.

Surging energy prices meant that the average consumer was spending 32.9% more on utilities than last year, based on credit and debit card transactions, as well as direct debits. As a result, Brits became more worried about the impact of rising household bills on their personal finances, with 92% now expressing concern about this, up from 86% in 2021.

Esme Harwood, at Barclaycard, said: “The lifting of all Covid restrictions meant card spending was up overall compared to last year.

“Hospitality, leisure, and travel all received a boost as Brits made up for lost time by socialising with friends and jetting off on holidays.

“However, the cost-of-living squeeze has clearly impacted the retail sector. Consumers have had to rein in spending on purchases like subscriptions and home improvements, as well as reduce their basket sizes in general.

“As these inflationary pressures continue, all categories are likely to face further headwinds in 2023. However, I am optimistic that both consumers and businesses will continue to find ways to adapt and cope with these challenges, as they did throughout the pandemic.”

Consumer Spending / Growth Index Overview:

  • Retail: -0.8% (spend growth) 5.0% (transactional growth)
  • Clothing: 11.2% (spend growth) 14.7% (transactional growth)
  • Grocery: -0.1% (spend growth) 7.9% (transactional growth)
  • Supermarkets: 0.1% (spend growth) 7.0% (transactional growth)
  • Food & Drink Specialist: -1.1% (spend growth) 13.3% (transactional growth)
  • Household: -5.4% (spend growth) -2.2% (transactional growth)
  • Home Improvements & DIY: -5.5% (spend growth) -7.5% (transactional growth)
  • Electronics: -7.2% (spend growth) 5.0% (transactional growth)
  • Furniture Stores: -3.3% (spend growth) -0.2% (transactional growth)
  • General Retailers: -6.2% (spend growth) -4.7% (transactional growth)