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Consumer cut back on food and drink spending

Spend on overall Eating & Drinking grew by 2.8% in April 2024, an slight uplift compared to the year-on-year growth in March 2024 (2.6%). This uplift was driven by a rise in spending at Bars, Pubs & Clubs, at 3.9% in April 2024 compared to 3.2% in March 2024, as the Easter weekend likely encouraged consumers to socialise.

However, spend at Restaurants decreased by -13.1% in April 2024 versus this time last year, a further decline compared to March 2024 (-12.6%), whilst spend growth on Takeaways and Fast Food remained flat at 3.0%. This comes as 49% of consumers say they are concerned about how much they spend on food and drink, with the same proportion making the effort to cut back on discretionary spending. Of this group, the majority are spending less on dining out and ordering takeaways, both at 54% respectively.

Meanwhile, spending on Entertainment grew by 3.2% in April 2024, on par with March 2024 (3.1%), as families spent on leisure during the half-term break.

Richard Robinson, Head of Hospitality and Leisure, Barclays Corporate Banking, said: "Consumers made an effort to reduce discretionary spending in April, resulting in cutbacks on food and drink spending. However, demand for travel continued to remain strong, as consumers booked their summer getaways."

Spend at Hotels, Resorts & Accommodation decline as consumers prioritise holidays abroad

Spend at Travel Agents remained strong at 7.1% in April 2024, on par with the year-on-year growth in March 2024 (7.1%), as consumers continued to book summer getaways.

However, spend at Hotels, Resorts & Accommodation declined by -0.7% in April 2024, marking the first month of negative growth in this category since May 2023 (-4.9%). This is likely due to 32% of consumers wanting to prioritise holidays abroad over staycations this year, with 39% of these consumers motivated by the desire to escape the wet and cold weather in search of some sunshine.


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