Consumer card spending grew 11.1% in June compared to the same period in 2019, as the warmer weather, easing of restrictions and major sporting events saw more Brits socialise and set off on staycations.
Data from Barclaycard comprising nearly half of the nation's credit and debit card transactions found that spending at bars and pubs rose 38.% – the first growth since September 2020 – as the nation flocked to pubs and beer gardens to enjoy the heatwave in early June and watch sporting events.
This trend looked likely to continue, as 41% of Brits said fixtures taking place over the next few weeks, including the Tokyo Olympics, will increase their spending.
Takeaways and fast food remained in high demand, recording a 146% surge in online spend, including food delivery apps and services. Restaurants also showed early signs of recovery, experiencing a relatively low fall in growth (-8.4%) when compared to the 74.4% and 53.2% declines recorded in April and May.
Hotels, resorts and accommodation saw their first growth (5.4%) since pre-pandemic times as Brits continued to holiday in the UK.
Entertainment, including cinemas, bowling alleys and golf courses, also showed signs of recovery as Brits enjoyed outdoor activities and more leisure venues opened, with just a 1.7% decline – a noticeable improvement on the 28.6% drop on the prior month. The data showed that consumers aged 65 and over drove this improvement, with their spending increasing 4.7% compared to 2019 – perhaps a reflection of rising levels confidence among this age group.
Raheel Ahmed, head of consumer products, said: "June saw Brits flock back to pubs, bars and beer gardens to watch the football and tennis on the big screens, as the heatwave early in the month encouraged many of us to get out in the sunshine and socialise.
"The start of the Olympics and the expected easing of restrictions later this month should continue to lift spirits and provide more opportunities for get-togethers, whether that's a weekend break, a meal out or to celebrate sporting victories. It's great to see Brits making up for lost time over the past year."
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