The hospitality sector was the biggest beneficiary of festive largesse with a 7.3% increase in expenditure in December, according to the latest Visa UK Consumer Spending Index, published today.
Overall household spending rose 2.6% in December on an annual basis, down slightly on November’s 3.1% growth, but rounding off the strongest quarter since 2014. The last quarter of last year attained an annual growth rate of 2.8%.
“Consumer spending continued to increase solidly in the run-up to Christmas,” said Visa UK and Ireland managing director Kevin Jenkins. “Growth was once again led by the experience sector with consumers going to Christmas markets, travelling to visit loved ones, or venturing to various parts of the country to celebrate.”
Hotels, restaurants and bars turned in the biggest increase of all the sectors, improving on November’s performance of 2% growth. Recreation and culture – November’s biggest winner with an increase of 9.3%, came in second in December with a 6.4% rise.
Annabel Fiddes, an economist at IHS Markit, observed: “A further solid upturn in UK consumer spending was seen at the end of 2016…and signals a further strong expansion of GDP in the final quarter. Broad spending categories pointed to a relatively mixed picture. Consumers spent more on day trips, meals out and at supermarkets, but expenditure declined slightly in areas such as clothing and footwear and household goods.”
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