August 2018 Consumer Spending blog image
05Sep, 2018
2 min read

Summer spending! Consumer spending in August 2018.

Data produced by Barclaycard who process almost half of all the UK’s credit and debit card transaction, shows that UK consumer spending rose by 4.5% in August 2018. Here are the main highlights:

  • Essential spending increased by 6.9% year on year, This includes a 5% increase for supermarkets.
  • Fuel prices continue to be high which led to a 10.9% increase in this area.
  • Non-essential spending was up 3.4% showing that the UK public are prioritising essentials, but there does seem to be some room for discretionary spending.
  • Spending on experiences continues to improve, this area saw an increase of 10.3%.
  • As expected online shopping continues to increase at are much faster than in-store.

However not all categories fared well. Consumers have not yet hit the high streets (or online) for their autumn and winter wardrobes. As a whole spending on clothes was just over half a percent, and both women’s and men’s clothes declining (0.9% and 0.3% respectively).

Garden centres also took a dip, growing at just 0.5%. This is a contrast to June and July which both saw 10% year on year growth in this area.

Are people cutting back?

After a summer of football, heatwaves, and spending, the sentiment is shifting back to frugality. 44% of consumers say they will be cutting back on treats, and 39% say they will spend less on entertainment.

Some of this sentiment will be down to uncertainty in the economy. Almost 60% are concerned about rising inflation and a similar percentage are concerned about increasing energy prices – which is good news for energy switching firms of course!

How did our customer categories fare?

Category Year on Year Growth
Overall Online In-store
Department Stores -2.80% 8.90% -5.70%
DIY Stores -0.80% 2.50% -1.30%
Supermarkets 5.00% 10.50% 4.60%
Vehicle Sales -0.40% 2.10% -0.50%
Furniture Stores 2.30% 36.30% -4.20%
Telecoms 3.00% 9.40% -2.00%
Household Appliances -12.40% -27.60% -3.30%
Garden Centres 0.50% 1.60% 0.30%
Discount Stores -15.00% 15.20% -21.10%
Floor Covering Stores -1.60% 15.50% -3.30%
Electronic Stores -2.90% 0.90% -4.90%

Outside of entertainment and essential it seems to be a tough market. It is more important than ever to review your strategy, and take action. Some important questions to as yourself are:

  • What is your online strategy? is it sufficient to compete with new players and your competition? and how does it fit into your overall strategy?
  • How is your business innovating and trying to drive your industry forward? Being at the forefront of this makes it harder for new players to disrupt your market.
  • If experience spending is being prioritises how are planning to tap into this?
  • What innovative sales and marketing activities are you undertaking?

If you are not taking action then it is vital to do so.  There are plenty of examples in the past and more recently of what inaction can lead to. Take action today.

Click here to read the Barclaycard consumer spending report for August 2018.

About The Author
I am a proud husband, father and space-nerd. I love business and data so I try to combine the two as much as possible. This passion led me to launch Geopify.