When compared to the same report launched in February 2022, Essential card spending grew by 6.7% in February 2023, driven by Grocery spend growth at 6.6%.
Fuel spend grew by 5.0% in February 2023, down from 9.3% in January 2023 and 10.6% in December 2022 as fuel prices continue to fall – according to the latest UK Consumer Spending Report from Barclays.
Non-Essential card spending grew by 5.5% in February 2023.
This growth is lower than January 2023 (10.4%) which was inflated due to Omicron restrictions the previous year, however higher than the growth seen between August and December 2022 as inflation pushes prices up.
Consumers spent 43.2% more on Utilities compared to February last year, a small fall from January 2023 at 44.7% as 67% of consumers say that they are finding ways to save energy at home.
“It is clear that the cost-of-living squeeze is having an impact on consumers as they cut down on discretionary purchases, reflected by a number of Non-Essential categories slowing in spend growth this month,” comments Viktorija Lygnugaryte Head of Client Insights, Barclays.
Food and drink inflation boosts spend
Supermarkets saw their second strongest month of year-on-year growth since February 2021 with spend up 7.1%, although this is lower than the level of food and drink price inflation at 16.8%.
This comes as 68% of Brits say that they are looking for ways to reduce the cost of their weekly shop.
Whilst, in another effort to save money, 34% of consumers are also buying ‘dupes’ – known as affordable versions of more expensive, popular products – with the majority of these shoppers (68%) buying food and drink ‘dupe’ products.
Growth in Non-Essential spend in February 2023 was 5.5%, however this is lower than the year-on-year growth seen in January 2023 (10.4%) – although last month’s figures were inflated by Brits having had fewer opportunities for Non-Essential spending in January 2022, during the Omicron Plan B restrictions.
Spend at Restaurants falls in February
Spend growth at Restaurants fell -3.0% compared to February 2022, whilst Bars, Pubs & Clubs saw a considerably smaller spend rise (7.7%) this month when compared to the year-on-year growth seen in January 2023 (18.1%).
“Growth in categories such as Restaurants and Bars, Pubs & Clubs tapered off in February, reflecting the pent up demand for eating and drinking out this time last year, combined with the impact of current cost-of-living squeeze,” notes Mike Saul, Head of Hospitality and Leisure, Barclays Corporate Banking, of the trend.
Discount Stores post year-on-year growth
Discount Stores showed a fifth consecutive month of positive growth with spend up 5.5% compared to the same period last year.
The rate of growth was also higher than we observed last month (4.2%) as Brits seek bargains amid rising prices.
The consecutive growth in Discount Stores shows that consumers are continuing to search for value in light of their budgets being more carefully managed. Nonetheless, the continued growth in Department Stores is encouraging for the overall Retail sector.
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