Barclaycard buoyed by August bank holiday spending surge

A surge in spending on leisure, entertainment and eating out in the UK made the August bank holiday the busiest for consumer activity since the pre-pandemic Christmas of 2019, Barclaycard has said.

Figures from the card payment company show individuals were undeterred by weather that felt like autumn and rising Covid-19 infections, with transactions 14.4% up on the same long weekend in 2020 and 9.4% higher than in 2019.

Office for National Statistics data had indicated a levelling off in credit and debit card spending, which some analysts attributed to a more cautious mood among consumers after the spread of the Delta variant.

But Barclaycard – which accounts for £1 in every £3 spent on credit and debit cards – said spending had been especially strong in certain sectors at the weekend, resulting in more transactions on Saturday and Sunday than on any day since Christmas Eve 2019.

Rob Cameron, the chief executive Barclaycard Payments, said: “This is hopefully a sign of more positive times to come, and a testament to the strength and resilience of British businesses when it comes to adapting and thriving in a post-lockdown world.

“The sectors where we’ve witnessed particularly strong growth – leisure and entertainment, and food and drink – demonstrate that consumers certainly haven’t lost their appetite for a celebration.”

In the leisure and entertainment sector, transaction volumes were up 37.2 % compared to last year, and were 26.8% higher than in 2019.

Barclaycard said there had also been growth in the food and drink sector – which was boosted last year by the government’s eat out to help out discounts. Activity was up by 20.3% on 2020 and by 14.5% on the August bank holiday in 2019.

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