Spending on essential items increases

Cash

Spending on essential items increased 13.2% in October – slightly less than September’s uplift of 14.4% – as fuel spend returned to modest growth after last month’s surge, new data reveals.

Data from Barclaycard, which sees nearly half of the nation’s credit and debit card transactions, shows that while shopping at supermarkets and food & drink specialist stores grew 14.2% and 69.2%, respectively. The figures reveal that 38% of consumers report finding it harder than normal to buy essential items due to shortages on the shelves, although this does represent an improvement on last month.

The top five items among shoppers who were struggling to make some purchases were: fresh fruit and vegetables (42%), ingredients for home cooking (30%), frozen goods (28%), fresh meat and fish (25%), and soft drinks (24%).

Overall consumer card spending grew by 14.2% in October, compared to the same period in 2019, the data shows.

This comes as 88% of consumers say they are worried about the impact of rising inflation on their household finances – a minor improvement on September’s figure. A similar number are also concerned that rising bills will have a negative impact on their household finances.

In addition, ongoing supply chain shortages continue to weigh on Brits’ minds, with 34% being so concerned about shortages in stores that they are changing their approach to Christmas shopping this year.

Jose Carvalho, Head of Consumer Products, said: “The expensive festive period on the horizon, combined with ongoing concerns around the impact of inflation and supply chain shortages, has meant we’ve seen steady yet cautious spending from consumers in October.

“While the uncertainty around rising household bills appears to be weighing on Brits’ minds, the encouraging growth we’ve seen in entertainment and international travel shows that consumers are still keen to enjoy leisure activities and holidays. As the nation continues its Christmas shopping and gears up for Black Friday and other sales, we’re confident that November should bring some welcome cheer to retailers.”

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