After a strong performance in 2014, UK household expenditure trends continued to improve at the start of 2015. The Visa Europe: UK Expenditure Index data signalled that spending rose across annual, monthly and quarterly measures in January, suggesting that expenditure remains on a steady growth trajectory.
Consumer spending rose by +1.3% on an annual basis in January, following a similar increase in December (+1.2%). Furthermore, the latest data indicated that growth momentum held strong at the start of 2015, with expenditure also rising by +2.1% and +0.5% on the monthly and quarterly measures, respectively.
Hotels, Restaurants Bars reported the strongest increase in spending volumes during January (+9.7%), followed by Food, Beverages Tobacco (+4.9%). Household Goods was the only other spending category to register an increase at the start of 2015 (+1.3%).
Meanwhile, expenditure declined at Clothing Footwear retailers for the fourth time in the past five months (-3.3% year-on-year) and in Misc. Goods Services categories (which includes hairdressing and jewellery) (-5.4%). Transport Communication and Recreation Culture saw modest falls in expenditure (-2.4% and -1.5%, respectively), while spending fell marginally in Health Education (-0.6%).
The latest increase in expenditure was supported by greater spending on the High Street in January (+1.3% on an annual basis), along with increased expenditure through Mail/Telephone Order categories (+2.0%). In contrast, Online spending fell marginally (-0.2%).
Kevin Jenkins, UK Ireland Managing Director Visa Europe said:
“There’s no evidence of a New Year hangover on overall consumer spending, with a further solid increase in year-on-year spending in January.
“Beating the January blues was a key reason for the rise as eating out and early holiday bookings have contributed to a near 10% spending boost in the Hotels, Restaurants and Bars sector.
“On the flip side, clothing retailers again found the going tougher. Consumer spending fell for the second month in a row and the fourth time in five months after a big Black Friday boost in November.”
Paul Smith, Senior Economist at Markit said:
“January’s UK Expenditure Index signalled the on-going expansion of consumer spending at the start of the year, led in the main by a further improvement in high-street spending, particularly in the Food Drink category.
“The latest data adds further to the view that the UK economy continues to expand at a solid clip. With reduced energy and fuel bills set to provide a fillip to consumers’ disposable income in the coming months, there seems little reason to suggest that the recent positive trend won’t be maintained in the short-term at least.”