Consumers are eating out more, as confidence in spending power grew 4.5% last month, according to the latest Barclaycard consumer spending report.
Consumer confidence was buoyed up by a record low level of inflation, and an improved sense of personal finances. The 4.5% rise was the biggest spike found by Barclaycard, in terms of real growth (adjusted for inflation) since October 2011, when its regular analysis began.
The latest report covered the dates 29 March to 25 April 2015, and compared it to 30 March to 26 April 2014.
Discretionary spend, such as on eating out and going to the cinema, was up by 7.3% compared to April last year, and was found to be a key driver of growth. Good weather in April this year also saw consumers have more drinks after work, with pubs reporting a spending rise of 8%.
Despite the growth in the number of times they ate out, however, consumers spent less per meal, with average spend per transaction falling by 6.8%. These findings tally with those seen in other recent research, including the previous Barclaycard report (28 December 2014 to 28 March 2015).
The report also found that the General Election had little impact on people's tendency to spend in April, with consumers preferring to "wait and see" what the outcome would be before changing their habits.
Chris Wood, managing director at Barclaycard, said: "Great weather, favourable economic conditions, and the Easter holidays have culminated in a bumper month for consumer spending in April. Since Easter also fell in April last year, this is not a distorted picture and indicates a growing confidence sustained from the first quarter of this year."