Consumer spending drops 2% in November

Consumer spending in the UK fell by 2.9% in November, despite spending on essential items growing 4.9% year-on-year, as ‘circuit breaker’ lockdown restrictions pushed the public to shop online.

According to Barclaycard’s monthly consumer report, spending on essentials grew 4.9%, with a 17.9% rise in supermarket shopping, while online grocery shopping saw a steep 97.4% rise as Brits went online to start stocking up on Christmas supplies.

Department stores and clothing saw declines of 18% and 13% respectively, which is the largest drops in both categories since June, when the first lockdown measures were still in place.

Looking ahead to 2021, a third of Brits said they feel more upbeat about their finances and job security due to news about the Covid-19 vaccines.

Raheel Ahmed, head of Consumer Products at Barclaycard, said: “Despite the restrictions in November, Brits are feeling more positive about their household finances as they start to prepare for the festive season. Christmas trees are going up just that bit earlier, and many are planning to spend more treating their loved ones after such a testing year.

Supermarkets, local shops, and online retailers have all performed strongly, while the longer evenings at home saw spend soar on digital subscriptions and electronics, helped by new consoles hitting the market.”

She added: “Unfortunately, the hospitality and entertainment sectors have continued to suffer. The big question now is whether Brits will flock to the high street for Christmas shopping after the November lockdown, providing a much-needed boost in December.”

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