Consumer spending November 2019

Consumer spending in November shows muted 0.9 per cent growth as Brits plan for a frugal festive season

  • Retail sector continues to see a decline as clothing, department and electronic stores all dip in spending
  • Discount stores were a bright spot as the majority of consumers are concerned about rising prices
  • A third of Brits are planning to spend less than usual on Christmas this year
  • The Barclaycard report combines hundreds of millions of customer transactions with consumer research to provide an in-depth view of UK spending

Consumer spending in November grew by just 0.9 per cent year-on-year, representing a decline in real terms when accounting for inflation, as restrained expenditure continues ahead of Christmas

Data from Barclaycard, which sees nearly half of the nation’s credit and debit card transactions, reveals that spending on essentials showed no movement at 0.0 per cent – as fuel spending dropped by 3.1 per cent and supermarkets rose marginally by 1.0 per cent.

Spending on non-essentials was up 1.3 per cent, presenting a mixed picture across the board for retailers. As shoppers continue to seek out value for money, discounts stores were a bright spot with 6.9 per cent growth while department stores saw a sharp drop of 5.9 per cent, and electronics and clothing retailers fell by 5.0 per cent and 3.3 per cent respectively.

Consumer spending in bars, pubs and clubs saw good growth at 8.7 per cent as Brits enjoyed nights out with friends and family. However, this did not bring any relief to restaurants, which declined by 5.2 per cent. Takeaways and fast food, meanwhile, saw a rise of 11.4 per cent as the colder weather and longer nights saw diners take advantage of food delivery apps over venturing out for a meal.

In line with this trend, digital content and subscriptions continued to show strong growth, up 14.6 per cent – a marker of services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime continuing to rise in popularity.

Meanwhile, entertainment contracted by 13.0 per cent, driven by a downturn in spending on shows and concerts, possibly in part due to the ongoing impact of ticket resale legislation.

Consumers remain prudent ahead of the festive season with 36 per cent intending to spend less than usual on Christmas this year, with 42 per cent of those cutting back saying it’s because they are looking to spend less money overall.

What’s more, 55 per cent of Brits are now concerned about potential rising prices of everyday goods impacting their ability to spend money, an increase of 4 percentage points from last month.

With an election on the horizon, this caution is reflected in overall consumer attitudes. Positive sentiment about the UK economy remains low, with only 31 per cent of UK adults expressing confidence – dropping to just 27 per cent for those aged 18-34.

Esme Harwood, Director at Barclaycard, said: “With a backdrop of political uncertainty, consumer confidence has remained low this month – particularly amongst younger consumers – as Brits focus on discount shopping in a bid to tighten their purse strings this Christmas.

“Throughout 2019 we have seen the nation managing their budgets by seeking greater value for money, and this trend looks set to continue in December. As we head into the busy shopping season, retailers will no doubt be crossing their fingers for consumer confidence to rise enough to deliver some Christmas cheer”.

Spend Growth Transaction Growth
Essential 0.0% 3.3%
Non Essential 1.3% 7.3%
OVERALL 0.9% 5.8%
Retail 0.0% 3.0%
Clothing -3.3% -5.6%
Grocery 1.2% 5.4%
Supermarkets 1.0% 4.0%
Food & Drink Specialist 3.0% 17.4%
Household -2.1% 3.0%
Home Improvements & DIY -1.9% 3.3%
Electronics -5.0% 2.4%
Furniture Stores 1.7% 3.9%
General Retailers 2.0% -1.0%
General Retailers & Catalogues 4.1% -3.9%
Department Stores -5.9% -0.2%
Discount Stores 6.9% 6.8%
Specialist Retailers -0.1% 3.1%
Pharmacy, Health & Beauty 1.1% 3.0%
Sports & Outdoor -0.4% -0.5%
Other Specialist Retailers -0.8% 3.9%
Hospitality & Leisure 3.3% 9.3%
Eating & Drinking 7.5% 9.7%
Restaurants -5.2% -6.3%
Bars, Pubs & Clubs 8.7% 16.1%
Takeaways and Fast Food 11.4% 7.6%
Other Food & Drink 9.0% 12.1%
Entertainment -13.0% 2.0%
Hotels, Resorts & Accomodation 2.7% 7.8%
Travel 4.2% 10.6%
Travel Agents 2.4% 1.7%
Airlines 5.4% -1.4%
Other Travel 5.1% 11.3%
Other 0.9% 9.8%
Digital Content & Subscription 14.6% 25.0%
Fuel -3.1% 1.0%
Motoring -0.4% 13.1%
Other Services 1.6% 6.2%
Online 2.9% 8.0%
F2F -0.4% 5.1%
  Spend Transaction
Online as % of Total 40.7% 25.1%

Notes to editors

Barclaycard sees nearly half of the nation’s credit and debit card transactions, which provides us with unique insight into UK consumer spending. The monthly spending data in this press release is based on Barclaycard credit card and Barclays debit card transactions, and is analysed by the Barclays Market and Customer Insights team. It relates to the period 21 October 2019 to 18 November 2019. It is compared with 22 October 2018 to 19 November 2018

The consumer confidence survey in this press release was carried out between 15 and 19 November 2019 by Longitude Research on behalf of Barclaycard. There were 2,003 respondents, providing a representative sample of UK consumers by age, gender, region, and income group.

For more information, please contact Polly  Ewell at or on +44 (0) 203 5550824 or Julia Madden at or on +44 (0) 207 116 9559. 

About Barclaycard

Barclaycard, part of Barclays Bank PLC, is a leading global payment business that helps consumers, retailers and businesses to make and take payments flexibly, and to access short-term credit and point-of-sale finance. In 2018 we processed nearly £268bn in transactions globally. Barclaycard is a pioneer of new forms of payment and is at the forefront of developing viable contactless and mobile payment schemes for today and cutting-edge forms of payment for the future. We also partner with a wide range of organisations across the globe to offer their customers or members payment options and credit.

Follow us on Twitter @BarclaycardNews