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Consumer spending dropped 36.5% year-on-year in April

Tom Bottomley
13 May 2020

Figures from the latest Barclaycard report monitoring consumer purchases have shown a decline in spending of 36.6% year-on-year in April, highlighting the impact of the ongoing social distancing measures.

Non-essential spend declined 47.7%, while even essential spend dropped 7.5% in April, though that can largely be attributed to a 58.9% reduction in fuel spend as people generally obeyed the government guidelines to “stay home.”

The data from Barclaycard, which sees nearly half of the nation’s credit and debit card transactions, reveals that supermarkets continued to see a boost in sales, of 14.3%, as Brits made larger shops and prepared more meals at home.

Specialist food and drink stores, including off licences, greengrocers and independent convenience stores, also saw a strong month of +37.7%, as shoppers continued to support local businesses despite the social distancing.

Online spend in home improvement and DIY also increased by 26.5% - accounting for 86.1% of purchases.

Esme Harwood, director at Barclaycard, said: “It’s been a tough time for retailers as consumer spending has dropped considerably under lockdown. There are some bright spots, though, as Brits have turned their focus online and looked to takeaways, digital subscriptions and DIY to keep entertained and occupied.

“A renewed sense of community may be welcome news for independent businesses, with a growing desire to support local stores in life after lockdown.”

The data also showed that almost nine in 10 UK adults (88%) have saved money on everyday expenses since the lockdown began. However, consumer confidence in the UK economy overall has dropped to its lowest for at least six years, with just 20% of adults feeling positive.

Confidence in job security also declined to 42%, suggesting a continuing concern for the months to come.

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