Christmas saw consumer spending hit lowest growth since 2016

Laura Suter
10 January 2019
  • Consumer spending over Christmas hit lowest growth since 2016
  • Supermarket spending also down, as discounters grow in popularity
  • Half of shoppers want to use the high-street more

Laura Suter, personal finance analyst at investment platform AJ Bell, comments on Barclaycard’s consumer spending data:

“It was a bleak Christmas on the high-street as shoppers reigned in their spending in December, rather than having the festive splurge many retailers had hoped for. Barclaycard’s data shows the lowest growth in consumer spending since 2016, as households tightened their belts.

“Supermarkets were clobbered with another decline in spending in December, as more and more people visited discount supermarkets in a bid to cut the cost of the Christmas food shop. Indeed, figures from Kantar show that two-thirds of all households shopped at either Aldi or Lidl over the 12-week period, ramping up those brands’ market share.

“A bright spot for high-street retailers is that shoppers are increasingly conscious that if they don’t use it they will lose it, with almost 40% questioned by Barclaycard prioritising high-street shopping over online in the Christmas period. But those good intentions won’t go far if people aren’t spending, and half of people say they plan to cut back spending further in January and are less confident about their finances in 2019.

“One area that appears to remain immune to cutbacks is pubs and restaurants, which continued to see a rise in spending, as people prioritised an occasional meal out or pint down the pub. Pubs saw a 13% increase in spending, while restaurants saw 9% growth.”


Kantar figures:

Laura Suter
Personal Finance Analyst
Laura Suter is personal finance analyst at AJ Bell. She is a multi-award winning former financial journalist, having specialised in investments. Laura joined AJ Bell from the Daily Telegraph, where she was investment editor. She has previously worked for adviser publications Money Marketing and Money Management, and has worked for an investment publication in New York. She has a degree in Journalism Studies from University of Sheffield.
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