UK Household Spending Has a Soft September – Visa

Posted: 12th October 2015

UK shoppers tapered their spending last month, according to new figures published today by a credit card giant.

Visa’s consumer spending index – which looks at total spending, not just that on credit cards – showed spending post a lift of 1.8 per cent in September compared with the same month last year.

Despite the gain, the pace of the spending climb was less than the average growth of 2.4 per cent seen throughout the year so far.

The lull in spending growth coincides with some softer economic data from the UK, such as Markit’s business surveys, but shoppers are not expected to stay timid for long.

“Record low interest rates and stagnant price trends continue to boost spending power and consumer confidence, and are expected to support a further rise in expenditure as we head into the final quarter of 2015,” said economist Annabel Fiddes from Markit, which compiles the data.

Spending growth was led by recreation and culture which was up 7.8 per cent year-on-year and clothing and footwear, which was up 6.2 per cent. Cash spent on hotels, restaurants and bars jumped 6.6 per cent. Online spending outpaced face-to-face spending, which declined.

“Consumers maximised the last of the summer and the camaraderie of the major sporting events in September, with spend at pubs and on entertainment roaring ahead. September was in fact the best month for the entertainment sector in terms of sales growth since last August,” said Kevin Jenkins, UK and Ireland managing director Visa Europe.

“Clothing retailers were also winners in September. Poor weather in the second half of the month
encouraged consumers to ready themselves for the beginning of autumn while also buying last-minute school uniforms for the new term.”