Spending in pubs, bars and restaurants via contactless card technology has almost doubled since the limit rose from £20 to £30 in September 2015, according to Barclaycard data research.
Pubs and bars saw a 92% jump in spending, the data showed, while fast-food outlets and restaurants have seen a rise of 62% and 51% respectively in the same time frame.
This puts the industries largely ahead of, or on a par with, convenience stores (59%), commuter transport (55%), and newsagents (40%).
The research, to 30 December 2015, showed that more than 8 in 10 consumers use less cash than a year ago, with 19% saying that they become annoyed if they aren't able to pay with contactless cards or devices.
One in 10 transactions are now made via contactless means, with the monthly spend via the system nearing £1b per month, according to the research. The report also said that restaurants, pubs and bars, fast-food outlets, and service stations, had been the "key beneficiaries" of the contactless limit increase.
Paul Lockstone, managing director at Barclaycard, said: "In 2015 we've seen contactless become an even more popular way to pay for small transactions. As the consumer appetite for new ways to pay continues to grow, particularly with the upcoming launch of high-value payments and the continuing growth in wearable payment devices, we're expecting 2016 to be another recording breaking year for contactless."
He added that the method's growing popularity represented a real opportunity for UK retailers to step up to the demand, and the report itself predicted that shoppers were also more likely to use contactless to spend upwards of £30 (which requires a PIN as authorisation) in the next year.
The research comes just four months after Barclaycard announced that contactless spend had more than trebled in the 12 months to August 2015, even when the contactless limit was at just £20.
Latest video from The Caterer