Consumer spending at specialist retailers, including jewellers, enjoyed growth of 27.2% in May, according to new data from Barclaycard.
This was over four times higher than last month’s increase – 6.4% – a clear sign that consumers are buying presents for celebratory occasions that may have been missed in 2020 due to the UK-wide lockdowns.
In more good news, consumer spending across the board rose 7.6 per cent in May compared to the same period in 2019 – the highest growth recorded since coronavirus restrictions began – as the further lifting of lockdown restrictions encouraged more Brits to shop and socialise.
Data from Barclaycard, which sees nearly half of the nation’s credit and debit card transactions, reveals that spending on essential items grew 11.4 per cent compared to May 2019 – the sharpest increase since before the onset of the pandemic.
The wet weather in early May was not enough to deter consumers from returning to shops, with overall spending on non-essential items rising 5.8 per cent compared to the same period in 2019, while face-to-face spending at non-essential retailers grew 8.0 per cent.
Consumer confidence in the economy and household finances remains noticeably higher than this time last year, holding up at 35 per cent and 72 per cent respectively, compared to 20 per cent and 67 per cent in May 2020.
Raheel Ahmed, head of consumer products, said: “May was a positive month for a range of categories, with the nation clearly determined to show support for retailers and local businesses. As friends and families reunited after months apart, it is reassuring to see signs of recovery for the entertainment and hospitality industries, both of which have faced significant challenges over the past year.”