Eating out remains at the heart of UK spending even as financial pressures grow

Figures from the quarterly Cardlytics Spending Index shed light on the status of eating out as a necessary luxury

New data released today, based on the card and direct debit data of more than three million bank customers, reveals a slowdown in consumer spending. Overall spending in Q2 2017 was up by 3 per cent year-on-year, down from the 9 per cent growth seen this time last year.  

Restaurants and quick-serve restaurants (QSR) continue to be the main drivers of spending with eating out now representing nearly a tenth (9 per cent) of consumers’ share of wallet. This is a leap of two percentage points since the beginning of 2015, when Cardlytics started tracking spending. The findings are in line with recent data, which revealed that the contribution of the hospitality industry to the British economy has outpaced growth in every other sectors since the 2008 downturn.

There is a wider trend of consumers wanting to treat themselves during the leaner times. In addition to increases in restaurant spending, airline and hotel spend is up year-on-year (12 per cent and 9 per cent respectively). The leisure industry experienced a 6 per cent increase in spending in Q2 compared to Q2 2016 and a 9.5 per cent spike since the last quarter. 

Additionally, the grocery sector has gained some momentum, with spending up 3 per cent in Q2 compared to this time last year, and 6 per cent up on the last quarter as the combination of hot weather and food inflation lift supermarket sales. 

The findings come as part of the Cardlytics Spending Index compiled by Cardlytics, the purchase intelligence platform.

Pete Gleason, ‎President of International Operations at Cardlytics, said: “This data shows just how much the UK loves eating out. Even amid a squeeze on household finances, spending in restaurants and cafes continues to go from strength to strength.

“The increased demand is good for hospitality but with the sector set for further growth in the form of increased competition, brands will have to work even harder to stand out and attract new customers. 

“But elsewhere, with consumers cutting back on spending it’s clear that brands will have to adjust to a new normal of low spending growth and focus on offering value.”

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