Mastercard SpendingPulse: Bank holidays and the King’s coronation boost retail sales in first half of May by +5.9% YoY

June 1, 2023 | London, UK

Total UK retail sales (excluding automotive) were up +5.9% YoY in the first half of May, with consecutive May bank holidays and the King's coronation boosting consumer spending. The insights come from Mastercard SpendingPulse™, which measures in-store and online retail sales across all forms of payment. Mastercard SpendingPulse reflects nominal spending and is not adjusted for inflation.

This spring, we have increasingly seen Brits prioritise spending on essential sectors such as grocery, and on restaurants making the most of the coronation weekend and consecutive May bank holidays. Meanwhile spending on home-related durable goods such as furniture, electronics and home improvement continues to underperform in line with the slowdown in the housing market” comments Natalia Lechmanova, senior economist, Europe at Mastercard Economics Institute.

Retail sales boosted by coronation get-togethers: On Friday 5 May, the day before the coronation, UK total retail sales saw a +15.7% YoY increase driven by groceries (+24.7% YoY), as people prepared to get together to celebrate.

Extra bank holiday sees more spending on eating out and non-essentials: The extra bank holiday on 8 May saw spending on restaurants up +15.1% YoY, as well as spending increase on non-essentials like apparel (+21.1% YoY), and jewellery (+7.1% YoY). This went against the trend of shoppers prioritising spending on groceries over non-essentials.

Song contest final boosts retail sales in Liverpool: On May 13, total retail sales in Liverpool were up +6.8% YoY.

Other consumer spending trends for the first half of May, include:

Shoppers return to the high street: Growth was boosted by brick-and-mortar sales (+7.2.% YoY), while online sales declined (-1.6% YoY).

Essentials are the priority: In the first half of May, essential sectors such as grocery saw steady double-digit YoY growth (+10.1%).

Tourism-related sectors continue to see positive year-over-year growth: Spend on lodging and restaurants increased in the first half of May, up +3.5% and +3.7%, respectively.


About Mastercard SpendingPulse

Mastercard SpendingPulse™ 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 certain other payment forms, such as 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.

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About Mastercard (UK)

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