Data from Barclaycard, which sees nearly half of the nation’s credit and debit card transactions, reveals that spending on essential items rose +11.1% in 2021 – largely driven by supermarket shopping, which saw overall growth of +17.4%.

Consumer spending increased +5.9% Yo2Y, fuelled by demand for convenience, online shopping and home improvements. 

Barclaycard says that spending on furniture was up +19.8% Yo2Y, and home improvements and DIY up +26.2%.

Jose Carvalho, head of consumer products at Barclaycard, says: “2021 was another challenging year, as the pandemic continued to hamper the UK economy. However, categories such as local food retailers, takeaways and digital entertainment continued to do well, thanks to Brits’ demand for convenient, local, and at-home shopping experiences. In addition, with more time spent working from home, Brits continued to invest in their households, resulting in strong growth for both DIY and pet stores."

Clare Bailey, independent retail expert and founder of The Retail Champion, adds: “It is encouraging to see that many categories have enjoyed growth in what has been another turbulent year. Local shops continue to be supported by community-spirited Brits, while sports, clothing and health and beauty retailers all saw uplifts as the nation enjoyed post-lockdown life."