March saw double digit spend growth of 11.6% on entertainment as the warmer weather prompted more visits to pubs and restaurants.
That's according to the latest data from Barclaycard, which processes nearly half of the nation's credit and debit card transactions.
The data shows a combination of rising prices and increased spend on the ‘experience economy' drove a 4.6% uplift in consumer spend March, with the UK's fifth-warmest March on record driving spend in pubs up 12.5%, and restaurants 12.2%.
With both the Easter and summer holidays on the horizon, travel experienced an uplift (6.3%) too. Hotels recorded the ninth consecutive month of double-digit growth (12.3%), although this increased spend is likely to have been partially driven by the depreciation of the pound compared to this time last year.
Some 70% expressed confidence in their household finances, with 57% also feeling confident in their ability to spend more on non-essential items specifically.
Consumers are, however, feeling less upbeat about the near future, with the inflationary pressures of recent months giving them cause for concern. A majority said they were reviewing finances, with 60% of consumers saying they expected to make changes to how and where they spend their money over the remainder of the year.
Paul Lockstone, managing director at Barclaycard, said: "It was another strong month and quarter for consumer spending, but the headline figure again masks a story of consumers making small, yet necessary, adjustments to their spending to accommodate the rising cost of day-to-day items. Robust growth in spending on 'nice-to-haves', however, does suggest consumers are still willing to treat themselves, especially on experiences with friends and family."
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