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UK Consumer Report summary

February 2021

Period covered: Period covered: 01 Jan 2021 – 31 Jan 2021

Note: Reporting periods are either one month or two months behind the current month as standard.

Consumer spending soared by a whopping 19.5% in the third quarter of 2020 – the sharpest quarterly growth rate on record. Total Expenditure recovered on previous quarter’s decline and amounted to £304,229m in Q3 2020. On an annual basis, consumer spending contracted by 10.1% in Q3 compared with the same quarter a year ago. The easing of lockdown restrictions boosted consumer-facing industries. Restaurants & Hotels (+566.3%), Transport (+73.0%), Clothing & Footwear (+40.3%) and Recreation & Culture (+8.4%) were the leading growth sectors in Q3 2020 on quarterly basis. With the exception of Furniture & Household Equip. (+0.8%), Housing, water, elec. & Gas (+1.7%), Alcoholic Beverages (+4.6%) and Food & Non- Alc. Bev (+4.6%), most sectors failed to meet last year’s consumption levels. GDP rose by a record 16.0% in Q3 2020 from the previous quarter, revised up by 0.5 percentage points from the previous estimate. This follows a record contraction of 18.8% in the second quarter. All components registered record rises in the third quarter; services (+14.7%), production (+14.7%) and construction (+41.2%). A remarkable increase in consumer spending resulted in the households savings ratio declining to 16.9% in Q3 2020, down from 27.4% in Q2 2020. Notably, the inequality between those that are able to save for the future and those that struggle in making any savings (lower-income households), becomes more apparent.

Consumer spending rises at record rates

Source: ONS

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  • Consumer spending overview
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  • Consumer spending by category
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  • Retail sales growth
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