New payments data shines a light on the economic impact of the 12th April changes to social distancing in the UK, which included the re-opening of non-essential retail, outdoor hospitality and hair and beauty businesses.
Just one week since the changes came into force, Barclaycard Payments has already recorded significant growth across all the sectors that were allowed to re-open, stemming from the country’s pent-up demand for returning to pre-pandemic activities.
Last week’s changes caused a stampede of customers rushing back to hairdressing and beauty businesses – the overall amount spent was not only 438% above where it was the previous week, it was also 62% higher than the same week in 2019, before the pandemic.
Spending at pubs and bars also saw a huge spike, surging 1,390% week-on-week. This was even more pronounced over the weekend, with Saturday’s warm weather causing transaction volumes to rise by a whopping 1,897% compared to the Saturday before.
However, the sector was still 40 per cent behind where it was in 2019. This is likely because venues are not yet back to full capacity – only outdoor hospitality venues are currently open – as well as a degree of caution from Brits who are not yet fully comfortable socialising in close proximity to others.
It was also a very positive week for clothing – a sector that has struggled over the past year – with transactions values jumping 32% week-on-week, and even rising above pre-pandemic levels, with an 8% increase compared to the same week in 2019. It was a similar story for the retail sector as a whole, with transactions up 67% compared to the previous week, and up 6% compared to the same week in 2019.
Consumers have consistently demonstrated their support for local, independent businesses throughout the pandemic. Last week was no exception – across all sectors, small and medium-sized businesses saw the value of all transactions grow by 42% compared to the previous week, and by 14% compared to the same week in 2019.