Credit and debit card spending up 7.6% in May

Consumer spending increased by 7.6% in May compared to the same period in 2019, as the further lifting of lockdown restrictions encouraged more spending across the UK.

Data published by Barclaycard, which sees almost half of the nation’s credit and debit card transactions, revealed that spending on essential items grew 11.4% compared to May 2019 – the sharpest increase since before the onset of the pandemic.

Spending on essentials was bolstered by supermarket shopping, which was up 17.7%, and face-to-face spending at local food and drink specialist retailers, which rose by 69.3%, as lockdown restrictions relaxed. Barclaycard also reported that overall spending on non-essential items climbed 5.8% compared to the same period in 2019, while face-to-face spending at non-essential retailers grew by 8.0%.

The Barclaycard report combines millions of customer transactions with consumer research to provide an in-depth view of UK credit and debit card spending.

Barclaycard surveyed 2,001 respondents during May and revealed that consumer confidence in the economy and household finances remains noticeably higher than this time last year, holding up at 35% and 72% respectively, compared to 20% and 67% in May 2020.

“May was a positive month for a range of categories, with the nation clearly determined to show support for retailers and local businesses,” commented Barclaycard head of consumer products, Raheel Ahmed.

“With summer – and hopefully more of this warmer weather – on the way, we hope to see these positive trends continue as Brits make the most of their newfound freedoms.”

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