Barclaycard has reported the lowest level of consumer spending growth since 2016 for the month of December 2018.
Consumer spending grew just 1.8% year-on-year. This was made all the more hitting with inflation at 2.3%, meaning that it was actually a decline in real terms.
This small growth was boosted by restaurants and pubs however, recording a spending growth of 9.1% and 12.9% respectively, as people made the most of the festive period with eating and drinking out of home.
The rest of the high street did not fare so well, with clothing spending falling by 3% and department store expenditure down by 6.3%.
Despite this, 52% of Brits say they want to support their local high street and 38% are deliberately choosing the high street over online-only retailers.
However, 49% expect to cut back on spending in January to cover the cost of Christmas, while 48% say they feel less confident about their personal finances in the coming year than they have done for many years.
One in two UK adults are concerned that there may be a decline in the UK economy, up from 43% last year.
“Growth in consumer spending dropped to its lowest level since 2016 and represents a decline in real terms,” says Barclaycard director Esme Harwood. “Many Brits were more modest in their approach to Christmas spending compared to 2017, cutting back on the essentials to balance the costs of the festive season.
“Despite a desire to support their local high street, Brits expect to cut back in January and remain cautious amidst ongoing economic uncertainty.”