Consumers 'splashed out' in pubs over January with double-digit year-on-year growth

By Georgina Townshend

- Last updated on GMT

Welcome antidote: Consumers beat away the January blues in pubs
Welcome antidote: Consumers beat away the January blues in pubs

Related tags Consumer spending Economy

While beer sales may be the lowest since 2013, spending in pubs through the first month of 2018 saw double-digit growth, as Brits ditched Dry January and sought to cure the new year blues with meals and evenings out with friends and family.

According to data from Barclaycard, which processes nearly half of the nation’s credit and debit-card transactions, spending on the ‘experience economy’ remained a bright spot, as consumers continued to prioritise leisure activities.

Entertainment spend recorded growth of 9.4%, as consumers splashed out in pubs with a growth of 12.8% - beating restaurants which grew 10.5%.

Altogether, consumer spending grew 3.9% year-on-year in January, also driven by a 4.1% increase in spending on everyday essentials.

Deteriorating confidence 

Yet despite this increased propensity to spend on social occasions, concerns around the wider economic picture are "evident", said Barclaycard.

In the wake of a broadly positive December, when six in 10 Brits expressed confidence in their household finances, just 54% now say the same.

Confidence in the UK economy is also deteriorating - just 29% of consumers say they feel confident. At the same time, almost half (46%) of Britons worry that the ongoing Brexit talks will leave them worse off. 

Welcome antidote

Barclaycard managing director Paul Lockstone said: "January’s uplift in spending represents a strong start to the year.

"But faltering confidence levels across the board suggests that consumers are feeling the effects of a post-Christmas slump, as well as the wider impact of inflation, on their everyday lives. 

“While spending on the ‘experience economy’ proved to be a natural and welcome antidote to the January blues, the dip in sentiment revealed by our consumer confidence data, allied to concerns over economic and political uncertainty, is quite telling.

"It suggests that caution will continue to be the watchword for many consumers as they allocate their household budgets in the months ahead.”

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