Mastercard SpendingPulse Insights Show Solid Retail Sales Growth in the UK

June 8, 2022 | London, UK

May Insights Show Rebound of In-Store Shopping & the ‘Experience Economy’ with UK Spending Driven by Demand for Travel and Online Spending Down on 2021 

Measuring in-store and online sales across all forms of payments, new data from Mastercard SpendingPulseTM shows the UK, along with Spain and France, led year-over-year spending growth in May among the countries measured, not adjusted for inflation.  

Key findings for the UK: 

  • UK growth has been particularly driven by in store sales which are up 42% on 2021 – and 24.1% up on pre-pandemic levels – with online sales slightly decreasing (-6.5%) in the last year.  
  • Over the last year, spending in restaurants saw the biggest growth in the UK (101.9%) followed by holiday accommodation (84.4%) – reflecting pent up demand for travel. 
  • Spend on electronics (-35%) has decreased the most compared to 2021 with furniture spending also down (-10.2%). 

Consumer spending has evolved rapidly over the past two years, from how people pay to where they shop, making economic insights more important than ever. With these new preferences and behaviours, businesses and governments are looking for regular insights to help guide their planning and decision making.  

Mastercard SpendingPulse offers frequent, trusted retail insights with a deep level of geographic granularity and is an established economic indicator in the U.S., Brazil, Australia and other markets around the world. With daily metrics and weekly updates, retailers, financial institutions and others have come to rely on the insights during key retail moments, holidays and year-round. 

"The Great Rebalancing is underway across Europe, as consumers shift from spending on goods to the experiences they’ve been deprived of these past two years. This is good news for sectors like restaurants and hotels,” said Natalia Lechmanova, Senior Economist, Mastercard Economics Institute. “Despite higher prices, the consumer remains resilient. We’re seeing spending continue broadly, though we’re starting to see shifts in how people are spending the money in their wallets.” 

According to Mastercard SpendingPulse, key trends for May across Europe show the diversification of spending across sectors and channels as pandemic restrictions ease: 

  • Total retail sales excluding auto were up across most markets compared to May 2021 but also compared to a pre-pandemic May 2019.  
  • In-store sales continue to rebound, with growth across the majority of markets. 
  • E-commerce sales slowed, though remain largely elevated compared to pre-pandemic 2019.  

Sectors such as Electronics, Grocery and Furniture, experienced reduced year-over-year growth rates in May as pandemic restrictions eased and spending expanded beyond goods and back to services.  

Sectors related to consumer mobility and experiences, such as Restaurants and Lodging, are seeing extraordinary growth compared to suppressed activity last year. This is driven by pent-up demand and the broader return to travel, as well as price increases.  

 “The consumer is the heart of the economy,” said Mark Barnett, President, Mastercard Europe. “By drawing on our unique retail sales insights, we’re able to provide a near real-time pulse of consumer health and trends. This helps businesses and governments alike understand today’s consumer, and ultimately adapt to their ever-changing needs across channels.” 

Media Contacts

Suman Hughes, Mastercard

About Mastercard SpendingPulse

Mastercard SpendingPulseTM, reports on national retail sales across all payment types in select markets around the world. The findings are based on aggregate sales activity in the Mastercard payments network, coupled with survey-based estimates for other payment forms including cash and cheque. As such, SpendingPulse insights do not in any way contain, reflect or relate to actual Mastercard operational or financial performance, or specific payment-card-issuer data. 

Mastercard SpendingPulse insights are preliminary and reflect the market’s local currency. ‘Total retail sales’ are defined as sales at retailers and food services merchants of all sizes. Sales activity within the services sector (for example, travel services such as lodging) are not included.  

About Mastercard (UK)

Mastercard is a global technology company in the payments industry. Our mission is to connect and power an inclusive, digital economy that benefits everyone, everywhere by making transactions safe, simple, smart and accessible. Using secure data and networks, partnerships and passion, our innovations and solutions help individuals, financial institutions, governments and businesses realize their greatest potential. With connections across more than 210 countries and territories, we are building a sustainable world that unlocks priceless possibilities for all.