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Just when we thought it was safe to open the wallet

Consumer card spending grew 13.7 per cent in February compared to the same period in 2020 – the highest growth since November 2021 – as the lifting of Plan B restrictions and work-from-home guidance encouraged Brits to socialise, shop and make travel plans as the economy re-opened.

However, with costs continuing to spiral with the latest global crisis impacting society following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, consumer confidence may be knocked back again.

Barclaycard research showed that while supermarket shopping grew 12.9% in February, this was the smallest uplift in the category since February 2020, as rising living costs continued to take effect. This has also led 59% of Brits to seek greater value for money to help reduce the cost of their weekly shop.

Almost half of these shoppers (45%) are buying budget or own-brand goods over branded goods in supermarkets, while nearly two fifths (39%) are using vouchers or loyalty points to obtain discounts.

Consumers are feeling slightly less optimistic about their household finances (63%) compared to January (68%), as rising living costs continue to hamper confidence. While the true impact of this decline is yet to be seen in spending levels, inflation, rising food prices and energy bills are the main sources of concern for nine in 10 Brits.

Nearly half (46%) also expect that inflation will affect their household budgeting in 2022.

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