Fashion spend was cut back in August says Barclaycard report
Barclaycard’s regular UK monthly spending report on Tuesday found that consumer card spending grew 4.7% in August year on year. This was the smallest uplift since March 2021 as rising living costs hurt the retail sector.
And overall card spending declined 1.9% compared to July, “with consumers becoming more selective about their discretionary purchases to ensure they can afford rising household bills”.
Consumers told the firm they’re cutting back on discretionary purchases such as clothing and overseas travel to ensure they can afford exploding bills (such as their energy costs), especially as colder weather approaches.
The report showed that spending on essential items rose 7.2% year on year, the highest increase since December 2021’s 8.9%, driven by supermarket shopping as prices continued to climb.
Average spending on utilities per customer grew 45.2% after last month’s growth of 43.9% jump, with 93% of consumers feeling concerned about rising household bills.
So it’s really no surprise that shopping at clothing and department stores declined. In fact, 24% of consumers said they’re looking to spend less on new clothes and accessories.
Overall spending on non-essential items rose only 3.6% year on year – the lowest growth since February 2021. As a number of categories saw declines, Britons admitted to being more selective about their discretionary purchases, with 31% now assessing whether every individual purchase is necessary amid the cost-of-living squeeze.
Clothing retailers saw a decline of 1.9% year on year and 10.7% month on month. The figures for department stores were -4.3% and -7.7%.
Of the 24% of shoppers cutting back on new fashion items, 37% were buying more from charity shops and 31% were using second-hand clothing websites to buy or sell items.
Pharmacy, health & beauty stores also declined, by 3.5% year on year.
Confidence in the future of the UK economy continues to wane too, and it’s now at its lowest level since August 2020 – during the first summer of the pandemic.
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