HOW DID WE SPEND OUR MONEY THIS YEAR?

OVERALL SPENDING DECLINED 7.1% IN 2020, BUT SUPPORT FOR INDEPENDENTS FLOURISHED

  • Support for the local high street remains strong as spending at food & drink specialist stores saw an uplift, as did digital subscriptions as Brits spent more time at home
  • While it has been a turbulent year for retail and hospitality, lifestyle changes boosted growth for some sectors, with online grocery seeing the largest increase 
  • The Barclaycard report combines hundreds of millions of customer transactions with consumer research to provide an in-depth view of UK spending

Consumer spending declined 7.1% year-on-year in 2020 – as coronavirus restrictions impacted many sectors, with high-street retailers and hospitality hardest hit. Yet there were some bright spots, as changing behaviours spurred e-commerce growth, and support for independent businesses flourished.  

New data from Barclaycard, which sees nearly half of the nation’s credit and debit card transactions, reveals spending on essential items rose 4.1%, largely driven by supermarket shopping (+15.7%) and online grocery shopping (+70.3%).

However, support for independent businesses also grew, as many chose to shop locally when and where they could. Specialist food and drink stores – including off licenses, butchers, and bakeries – saw an increase of 28.6%, while support for florists blossomed, seeing purchases up 22.7%.

While social distancing restrictions resulted in an overall decline of spending in pubs and bars of 36.7%, and 47% in restaurants, spending on takeaways surged 49.1%, while meal subscriptions saw an increase of 62.4% as hassle-free dinner options transitioned indoors.

These measures, which saw many homebound for the best part of the year, also resulted in spending on digital subscriptions and electronics to rise by 31.5% and 10.8% respectively, while home improvement / DIY stores saw an increase of 9.8%, furniture stores of 5.3%, and sports and outdoor retailers 7.2%, as Brits looked to improve both their home and health.

A trend towards staying local has been seen in travel behaviour too. August and September saw more holidaymakers embark on staycations over trips abroad, with UK hotels, resorts & accommodation seeing their smallest declines since the first national lockdown, at 19.1 per cent and 18.1 per cent respectively