12Apr, 2018

Barclaycard’s report on consumer spending in March 2018

Barclaycard (who process nearly half of all card transactions in the UK) have released their insights into consumer spending in March 2018.

Overall growth slowed from 3.8% in February to just 2% for March (compared to the same periods last year). In-store spending decreased by 1.9% and the weather (“the beast from east”) is cited as the reason. The positive growth number was driven by online sales which grew by 11.7%, and this makes a lot of sense given that the snow made it difficult for UK consumers to get out.

Consumers continue to prioritise ‘essentials’ which grew by 3.8% whereas ‘nice to haves’ grew by just 1.1%. The exceptions were restaurants and pubs which each grew by over 7%. This demonstrates that whilst the weather might stop the British public shopping on the high street, it won’t get in the way of a pint!

What about Geopify’s customers?

The report includes many of our customer’s categories. Most of the segments saw a decline with the exception of ‘telecommunications’ and ‘supermarkets’. If your business is a garden centre then it is likely that you were hit particularly hard. The “beast from the east” meant that consumers couldn’t get started on their gardens ahead of the summer.

Here is category breakdown for consumer spending in March 2018:

CategoryYear-on-Year Consumer Spend growth by category
Department Stores-4.10%5.30%-6.60%
DIY Stores-7.00%-4.10%-7.30%
Furniture Stores-0.20%36.40%-6.70%
Household Appliances-19.50%-37.70%-7.30%
Garden Centres-26.40%-14.20%-28.60%
Floor Covering Stores-5.10%12.60%-6.80%
Electronic Stores-4.60%0.80%-7.60%

How did your business fare?

It’s good to understand how your performance compares to the wider market, and importantly your competition. There are many reports like these and maybe you have even commissioned your own research. Whatever your approach, adding some situational context is always a good idea. If your sales number increased by a larger amount than the market, then you are beating your competition. This is the case even if you saw a decline in your own numbers.

What can you do with this knowledge?

Understanding your performance within a situational context will help you make better decisions about how you can win and retain more business. So look outwards as well as in when reviewing your results.

One final thought

Many businesses have operational plans for bad weather so that they can offer a continuity of service to existing customers. However, what sales and marketing plans do you have if bad weather hits? If your customers are staying at home, are there any online marketing ‘levers’ that you can pull to encourage more online transactions? Can you shift your in-store resources into something else to help maximise sales during times of inclement weather? It is worth reviewing how you maximise your sales opportunity when customers who would typically come to your store are unable to do so?

So make sure you use internal and external data to review your performance and help you plan for similar situations in the future.

The source of the data in this article can be found here

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.