Barclaycard Payments data shows early signs of growth for Leisure & Entertainment as England celebrates reduced lockdown measures

  • Face-to-face spend in the Leisure & Entertainment sector grew by 136 per cent last week, compared to the previous week, with golf courses up 370 per cent
  • Contactless transactions increased by 9 per cent week-on-week, as the technology continues to be the preferred way to pay
  • Petrol and travel both grew by 7 per cent, as people attended outdoor gatherings over the Easter weekend

New data from Barclaycard payments, which processes almost £1 in every £3 spent in the UK, shines a light on the economic impact of the recent changes to social distancing, which came into force on 29 March, allowing outdoor gatherings and the reopening of outdoor sports facilities.

The changes are already having an impact on Leisure & Entertainment – face-to-face spend across the sector was up 136 per cent last week, with many of us eager to return to sanctioned sport at the earliest possible opportunity. Golf courses showed a particularly strong rebound – in-person spend was up 370 per cent compared to the previous week, and total spend was up 190 per cent.

People in England can also attend outdoor gatherings of up to six people or two households, which, coupled with the brighter spring weather, has caused a spike in local travel – overall travel and petrol spend were both up 7 per cent, with friends and family reuniting for the first time in 2021.

The boom in outdoor gatherings is also the likely reason why Barclaycard Payments recorded a 9 per cent rise in contactless transactions over the past week, with more people using ‘tap and go’ as a convenient and safe way to pay for their picnic en route.

However, the ongoing social distancing measures are still having a significant affect – the total value of transactions across Leisure & Entertainment was still down 35 per cent compared to the same week two years ago, before the onset of the pandemic.

Rob Cameron, CEO of Barclaycard Payments, said: “This is a strong indication of the pent-up demand for returning to pre-pandemic activities, like seeing friends and family and enjoying outdoor sport. We hope that businesses will maintain this momentum as they approach the next major milestone – the reopening of non-essential retail next week.”

Notes to editors

The data in this release represents UK spending through Barclaycard’s payments processing systems (e.g. Barclaycard card machines in stores), regardless of card type or issuer.

It is not data taken from spending on Barclaycard’s consumer credit cards. Therefore, please do not refer to Barclaycard credit cards when writing about the source of the data.

Barclaycard Payments will be using its acquiring data to explore the impact of the upcoming lockdown milestones between now and June 21st; the expected date when all restrictions are removed.

For more information, please contact: Oliver Stevenson, Media Relations, +44 (0) 207 116 3837,

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. In the UK we process nearly £1 in every £3 spent using credit and debit cards, and in 2020 we processed over £267bn in transactions globally. We also partner with a wide range of organisations across the globe to offer their customers or members payment options and credit.

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