Recent consumer spending data from Barclaycard has revealed that spending growth slowed to just 2% in March – the lowest level since April 2016 – due to adverse weather conditions from the ‘Beast from the East’.
The bad weather took its toll on high street spending year-on-year, as shoppers continued to prioritise the essentials, which rose to 3.8%, while spending on products known as ‘nice-to-haves’ increased by only 1.1%.
However, non-essential spending in pubs and restaurants was up 7.7% and 7.2% respectively – but this too felt the negative impact of the weather with nearly half of consumers saying it led them to rein in on leisure and experience spending.
“The ‘Beast from the East’ took its toll on the high street in March, keeping shoppers at home and leading to a slowdown in consumer spending,” comments Paul Lockstone, managing director at Barclaycard.
“Despite the dip in growth last month, however, expenditure was broadly stable in the first quarter.
“It seems consumers have become accustomed to adjusting their budget and as a result, are more confident in their own finances.
“While there are bright spots, however, it’s important to note that a sense of caution still remains, with many of us hesitant to change our spending patterns no matter what the next few months may bring.”