The sunshine brought shoppers out in force in May, as consumer expenditure rose significantly during May, peaking over the early Bank holiday, with garden centres recording a year-on-year increase of 50.3% over the weekend, whilst spending in DIY stores was up 19.3%.
In total, consumer spending grew 5.1% year-on-year in May, which is the highest level seen since April 2017, according to the latest figures from payment services provider Barclaycard. In-store spending rose by 2.6%, as good weather encouraged shoppers to head out to the high street and local garden centres.
Data from Barclaycard, which processes nearly half of the nation’s credit and debit card transactions, shows that, in stark contrast to the negative impact of the ‘Beast from the East’, the hottest Early May Bank Holiday on record boosted spending for many retailers. During that time, Brits spent 19.7% more in DIY stores and 10.1% more in supermarkets compared with the same long weekend in 2017. Garden centre spending rose 50.3% over the three days, which led to the category bouncing back to 23.8% growth overall in May. DIY stores, meanwhile, saw a 7.3% rise in spending for the month.
However, the figures also revealed that, despite Brits allowing themselves to enjoy the sunny weather, a degree of caution remains. While maintaining the overall steady levels seen earlier this year, the number of consumers expressing confidence in their household finances has weakened slightly to 57%, down from 62% in April. What’s more, despite inflation falling to a 13-month low in April, fewer than one in 10 consumers (9%) feel they have experienced a positive impact on their spending power.
Barclaycard director Esme Harwood said of the findings: “Although a degree of caution remains, UK shoppers felt confident enough to let themselves enjoy the sunny weather in May. This brought good news for the high street.”
She added: “Looking ahead, it seems the experience economy will remain a top priority as consumers plan to treat themselves to major music and sporting events. In the next few months, we expect to see families carefully balancing their budgets to ensure they don't miss out on their must-see and must-do experiences of the summer.”