Consumer spending exceeds pre-pandemic levels amid online boom

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Figures showed consumer spending rising above pre-pandemic levels in 2021 as the online shopping boom continues.

Barclaycard said spending on consumer credit cards increased 5.9% in 2021 compared to 2019, despite closing stores, hospitality and entertainment companies during large periods of the year.

The credit card giant said spending on hotels and entertainment was hit hard by tight periods.

However, he added, social distancing measures and other virus restrictions have stimulated demand for indoor experiences and outdoor activities, with shoppers spending more on digital entertainment and in sports and outdoor retail.

Local food, takeaway and digital entertainment retailers continued to do well thanks to British demand for convenient, home-grown shopping experiences.

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The home improvement boom also continued as people repaired their homes after blackouts from 2020 to last year.

José Carvalho, director of consumer products at Barclaycard, said: “2021 was another challenging year as the pandemic continued to hobble the British economy.

However, categories such as local food retailers, prepared foods and digital entertainment continued to perform well, driven by British demand for convenient, local and local shopping experiences.

“Plus, with more time working from home, Brits have continued to invest in their homes, which has led to strong growth for both craft and pet stores.”

Barclaycard data showed that homeowners spent more on their property, with spending on home improvement and DIY increased by 26.2% and furniture by 19.8%.

Consumers also brought more pets into their homes, resulting in a 29.1% increase in spending at veterinarians and pet retailers.

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The residential accommodation boom saw UK hotels and resorts rebound in the summer, with growth of 3.7% in June and 15.9% in August.

Claire Bailey, founder of Retail Champion said: “It is encouraging to see that so many categories have enjoyed growth in what has been another turbulent year.

Local stores continue to get support from community-minded Britons, while sports, apparel, health and beauty retailers have seen improvements as the nation enjoys post-lockdown life.

“While Omicron’s economic impact remains to be seen, we can admire the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors for adapting once again to ever-evolving conditions and overcoming many challenges this year.”

Terry Alexander

"Award-winning music trailblazer. Gamer. Lifelong alcohol enthusiast. Thinker. Passionate analyst."

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