Card spending on overseas travel in September continued to be ‘significantly up” on last year despite the cost of living uncertainty continuing to impact other sectors.
Travel agents saw the largest spending growth per customer at almost 95% last month, followed by airlines at 60%, the latest Barclays UK consumer spending report revealed.
People are more confident to holiday abroad than at the same time last year when Covid travel restrictions limited overseas trips.
“Spend on overseas travel continues to be significantly up on last year’s level but overall growth in non-essential spending was only 1% compared to September ’21 and has slowed since July this year (3.6% in August, 8% in July),” Barclays said.
Spending in restaurants in September dipped by more than 12% year-on-year and more than half of those polled plan to have more nights at home to save money.
The report added: “Cost conscious consumers cut back on areas including clothing, restaurants and home improvements.
“Overseas travel continues to be up on last year as consumers are more confident to holiday abroad.
“Spending on overseas travel remained in strong growth when compared to last year with travel agents and airlines seeing growth of 94.7% and 60.1%respectively.
“Hotels, resorts and accommodation spend was down 7% versus last year, in part due to the removal of international Covid test costs and Brits feeling more confident travelling abroad.”
Overall consumer card spending growth of 1.8% in September compared to the same period last year was down from 4.7% in August and 7.7% in July as consumers spent less in retail and hospitality.
Rising energy prices and autumnal weather saw people spending 48% more on utilities compared to the same period last year, a higher uplift than the previous two months (45.2% in August and 43.9% in July).
This came as 65% looked for ways to save energy at home compared to 45% in August.
The report said: “The energy price increases in October are leading to 91% of Brits to feel concerned about rising household bills. Following the government announcement to help to reduce energy bills for UK households, just 31% say that the new measures have made them feel more secure about their personal finances.”
Barclays Corporate Banking head of hospitality and leisure Mike Saul said: “It is clear that consumers still want to enjoy many experiences that were curtailed during the pandemic.”