11May, 2018

Barclaycard’s report on consumer spending in April 2018

Consumer spending in April 2018 improved compared to March, according to Barclaycard’s monthly consumer spending report.

Barclaycard support nearly half of all UK card transactions in the UK. So it is a good data set to look when trying to understand the consumer market as whole. However, different consumer focused industries are seeing varying results.

The main points highlighted in the report are:

  • Overall consumer spending in April was up 3.4% year-on-year.
  • People spent more on on ‘nice-to-haves’ and experiences. A stand out areas in this group are:
    • Entertainment – which was up 7.1%
    • Pubs were up 7.6%
    • Restaurants up 7.2%
    • Travel increased 10.3%
  • Interestingly ‘essential spending’ is down to a 21 month low of just 1.8% growth. Supermarket growth was at just 1.6%.
  • Consumer confidence remains steady with 62% saying that they remain confident, comparable to the March numbers.
  • There is some nervousness about a potential BOE rate rise with a third of those surveyed suggesting that they would tighten belts in the event of a rate increase

Geopify works with customer in many different industries. Here is how our customers focus areas fared:

Y-On-Year consumer spending growth
Department Stores-3.10%8.40%-5.80%
DIY Stores-5.10%-3.20%-5.40%
Vehicle Sales-2.70%7.30%-2.90%
Furniture Stores5.40%30.90%0.50%
Household Appliances-16.00%-35.20%-3.60%
Garden Centres-18.20%-6.80%-19.90%
Discount Stores1.70%16.00%-1.30%
Floor Covering Stores-0.50%12.50%-1.80%
Electronic Stores-0.40%0.60%-0.90%

What does this data show?

There was good news for furniture stores as this sector saw growth, driven mainly by online sales. Other categories did not do so well. Garden centres did particularly badly as they failed to recover from the adverse weather in March and they don’t seem to have capitalised on the mini-heatwave seen in April. Household goods also saw poor growth for the month.

It is a tough market for home focused retailers as well as the high street in general (which continues hit the headlines with struggling brands and store closures).

What next?

If your business is seeing sales slip it might be time to review your model and how consumers are behaving in your industry. For example, are there any disruptive businesses coaxing away your customers? If so don’t wait until it is a problem – innovate yourself. Traditional brands need to think more like tech businesses to help grow their businesses, and in some cases to help them survive!

Also consider how your business is targeting consumers. Are you reaching the right people? In a few weeks this will become even more important with the impact GDPR  will have on your data and consumer privacy. It will be more important than ever to target the right people with right messages.

Key to any action, though, is understanding your position in your market. Once you have analysed your data and compared it to the wider market and competitor innovation you can take action.

This blog item was derived from stats published by Barclaycard plc.

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.