Belfast Telegraph

Consumer spending online dips for first time since 2013

Consumer spending online has dipped year-on-year for the first time since 2013 , according to an index.

A 0.1% annual fall in e-commerce spending was recorded in April - marking the first decline since September 2013.

By contrast, face-to-face spending on the high street increased for the first time this year so far, with a 0.3% annual uplift in April.

Overall, consumer spending increased by 0.5% year-on-year in April, marking the weakest pace for three months, Visa's UK Consumer Spending Index found.

The report said the increase in face-to-face spending is likely to have been supported by the Easter holidays - with sales of chocolate eggs and hot cross buns helping food and drink spending rise at the fastest rate in three years.

The fall in e-commerce spending follows an 8.2% increase recorded in March.

Looking at different types of spending, h otels, restaurants and bars were the best-performing sector, with spending up by 9.2% year-on-year.

Meanwhile, food and drink retailers posted the steepest increase in spending for three years, with a 5.9% increase, while spending on clothing and footwear increased by 2.3% - the strongest spending uplift for six months.

Spending on recreation and culture, which includes cinemas and bookshops, was up by 2.8% year-on-year although this was the slowest growth seen in this category for eight months.

Spending on health and education was down 9.5% year-on-year, while spending on transport and communication saw a 9.2% year-on-year fall.

The index, compiled by Markit, uses spending on Visa cards as a base and adjusts the figures to reflect overall consumer spending, not just that on cards.

Kevin Jenkins, UK and Ireland managing director at Visa, said: "Consumer spending slowed down further in April, as consumers tightened their belts in the face of rising prices running up against stalling wage growth. Annual spending growth fell back to 0.5%, from an already subdued rate of 1% in March.

"While overall figures suggest that clouds are gathering over British consumers, there were still some bright spots. Easter and the extended half-term break may have contributed towards a strong uplift of over 9% in the hospitality sector.

"Meanwhile, Easter eggs and hot cross buns helped food and drink sales rise at their fastest rate in three years, up nearly 6%. This seems to support the claim of some food and drink retailers that Easter is becoming 'the new Christmas'."

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