If you’d just been watching the news for the last 6 months, you’d be forgiven for having a pretty bleak outlook on the future of the UK economy. With the shock Brexit vote, we’ve seen the value of the pound fall to a 31 year low, banks warn of a potential UK recession and others suggesting that leaving the single market could cost us £66 billion a year – 8 times more than our EU membership fee a year.
That, however, hasn’t been enough to hit consumer confidence as a Barclaycard survey has revealed that UK consumer confidence is at a 2 year high. The numbers reveal that 48% of Britons felt upbeat about the economy last month, compared to 47% who did not and 5% who weren’t sure. In June, ahead of the EU referendum only 34% of respondents said that they felt confident about the state of the economy.
Barclaycard compiled the information as part of their consumer spending report, which is informed by the opinions of over 2,000 people. Other facts gleaned from the report include that only one in 7 people felt more secure about their household finances than they did a year ago, indicating that people are more confident about the wider economy than they are their own finances.
Paul Lockstone, Managing Director at Barclaycard, said: ‘For the first time since Barclaycard began tracking consumer confidence in 2014, more people now tell us they feel confident about the UK economy than those who don’t, and the proportion has jumped since the EU Referendum vote in June.
‘This recovery in confidence, combined with the warmer September weather, helped to prolong the summer feeling among consumers last month. Increased spend on experiences, and in particular with friends and family in pubs and restaurants, delivered one of the strongest months for spend growth so far this year.’
Barclaycard said that consumers spent, on average, 4.2% more in September than they did in the same month last year. Of particular note is spending in pubs, which climbed 17.3% over the same period last year – perhaps contributing to the positive outlook of the UK’s consumers. We joke, of course, but it’s a strong rise that goes alongside the 14.9% rise in restaurant spending over the same period.
Meanwhile, clothing and department stores saw drops of 1.8% and 4.6% respectively, proving that it’s not all good news for the nations businesses.
Looking ahead, Barclaycard are expecting a great many calls on the Barclaycard contact line as Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales see another spike in consumer spending. Oh, and of course, we’ve got Christmas to look forward to – a time when a great many of us dip into the savings to show our friends and family that we care about them.