Data from Barclaycard also revealed while restaurant spending was still declining by 18.7% year on year, this was a marked improvement on the 39.1% decrease seen in the previous month, which it claimed indicated diners continued to take advantage of a range of extended discounts following the Government-backed Eat Out to Help Out scheme.
Looking outside the pub trade, spending on essential items grew 6.1% year-on-year, with a 15.4% increase in supermarket expenditure. This comes as more than a quarter (27%) of Brits admitted to stockpiling items such as tinned food and toilet roll in case of shortages in the near future.
With overall travel spending declining 63.1%, there were indications people were picking staycations instead of overseas travel.
Spending at hotels, resorts and accommodation was down 18.1% but this was an improvement on May (down 89.8%) and reflected similar levels to August (down 19.1%).
Almost a quarter (24%) of the more than 2,000 respondents polled said they were optimistic about the UK economy – an increase from the 19% in August.
Confidence in household finances remains relatively high at 70% but more than a third (34%) said they expected coronavirus or other economic changes to have a direct impact on their income over the next 12 months.
Barclaycard head of consumer products Raheel Ahmed said: “Consumers clearly made the most of the sunshine by socialising in September, with spending at pubs and bars seeing the first increase since before the national lockdown was introduced in March. There were also signs many Brits squeezed in a last-minute summer holiday in the UK, as spending on accommodation stayed at similar levels seen in August.
“However, we also saw households preparing to spend more time inside as winter draws closer, with home improvement increasing as a result. While the nation’s confidence in the UK economy has improved slightly, many are still cautious about the upcoming winter months, and the subsequent uncertainty it may bring has caused some to start stockpiling once more.”