The data from Barclaycard, which sees nearly half of the nation’s credit and debit card transactions, revealed the cost-of-living squeeze is leading Brits to rein in their spending on eating and drinking out, with pubs, bars, clubs (down 1.2%) and restaurants (a drop of 5.9%) seeing slight declines when comparing spending in May 2022 and April 2022.
Spending on non-essential items grew 11.6% year-on-year, largely driven by hospitality and leisure spending which grew significantly (67.2%) compared to the same period last year, when the rule of six was still in place and indoor venues were only open for half of the month.
Barclaycard head of consumer products José Carvalho said: “The cost of living squeeze is clearly influencing discretionary spending habits, with figures showing a decline in subscriptions, and a drop in spending at restaurants, bars, pubs and clubs.
“Despite this, there are some encouraging signs, particularly in travel industry, as Brits’ appetite for going abroad continues to grow as we approach the summer holidays.
“While consumer confidence continues to fall, we hope to see at least ay short-term boost thanks to the Jubilee Weekend, and the recently announced £400 energy bill discount coming in October.”
Financial expert Jasmine Birtles said the figures showed the nation was starting to feel the effects of rising prices, and unfortunately this was likely to continue over the months ahead. However, she gave tips to consumers looking to save money, including, to use vouchers and eat early when going out to pubs and restaurants.
The data also showed spending on essential items grew 4.8%, largely propped up by inflation, and a 24.8% surge in fuel spend as petrol and diesel prices continued to climb.
What’s more, shopping at supermarkets and specialist food and drink stores saw slight declines (-2.0% and -0.9% respectively) versus May 2021, when it’s likely more of the nation were cooking at home rather than eating out due to Covid measures.
Another possible reason for these declines is more than two fifths (41%) of consumers now said they were looking for ways to reduce the cost of their weekly shop, to adjust for rising living costs.
Additionally, rising energy prices meant average spending on utilities per customer surged 34.5% in May compared to the same period in 2021. In fact, almost nine in 10 (88%) said they were concerned about rising household and energy bills, while four in 10 (41%) are looking for ways to save energy and water at home.