Hospitality sector set for a Christmas boost as shoppers hit the high street

November 2, 2023
  • New Mastercard SpendingPulse data predicts a 3.7% increase in physical retail sales compared to the same period in 2022 as consumers return to bricks and mortar stores in the run up to Christmas.
  • Data points to cautious optimism among UK consumers this holiday season as people get together during the festive period, with restaurant spending set to increase by 12.9% year on year.
  • Spend on clothing and jewellery to see a surge, up 5.3% and 5.1% respectively.

London, UK: There will be a return to bricks and mortar retail this festive season as people head to the high street to do their Christmas shopping, according to new data from Mastercard SpendingPulse.

The forecast predicts a 3.7% increase year on year for instore shopping, as well as a 12.9% increase on spending in restaurants, as people come together to celebrate with friends and family during the festive period between 1st November and 24th December.

Key trends to watch out for in 2023 festive spending:

  • A return to bricks and mortar stores. As the pandemic reshaped consumer behaviours towards online shopping, this year’s consumers are taking a hybrid approach, blending brick-and-mortar stores and online. The forecasts suggest many are returning to the High Street this holiday season with instore sales expected to grow by 3.7% year on year.
  • Restaurant spending is up. Building on the ongoing demand for in-person experiences and an eagerness to socialise this festive season, spending in the UK restaurant sector is expected to increase by 12.9% when compared to 2022. This trend will be echoed across Europe*, with overall spending set to increase by 14.4% year on year across the market more broadly.
  • Dressing to impress. Spending on clothes and jewellery will increase as people dress to impress for the festive period. Analysis of areas of anticipated spending surges show that fashion and accessories-related sectors are both expected to grow this year, by 5.3% and 5.1% respectively when compared to the same period last year.
  • The big Christmas shop. Spending on essentials, such as groceries, is expected to increase by 4.3% year on year, primarily driven by inflation, but also by the desire from shoppers to consume festive foods and host social gatherings.
  • Demand for digital. When it comes to gifting, electronic sales are anticipated to be favoured this year, with sales predicted to grow by 5.6% year on year.


Natalia Lechmanova, senior economist, Europe at Mastercard Economics Institute:Our latest Spending Pulse forecasts show cautious optimism among UK consumers, many of whom will remain cost-conscious this festive season as navigating inflation, higher mortgage payments, and an uncertain economic environment. The good news for UK retailers and the hospitality sector is that there is a continued desire to spend, particularly on gifts and dining out.”

The predicted increase in retail spending should provide some comfort to UK small business owners, particularly those with bricks and mortar stores. Recent research from Mastercard’s Strive UK small business barometer found that around a third (32%) of micro and small business owners were feeling less confident than last year about their business’ performance in the run-up to the Christmas period, but today’s data suggests the outlook is promising.

Mastercard SpendingPulse
Anticipated UK Holiday Retail Sales
November 1 – December 24, 2023 vs. 2022











Source: Mastercard SpendingPulse, which measures overall retail sales

across all payment types, including cash and cheque. 

Notes to editors

*Mastercard SpendingPulse looks at nine European markets, including: the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, and United Kingdom. Mastercard SpendingPulse reflects nominal spending and is not adjusted for inflation

Media Contacts

Niall Walsh, Mastercard
+447827820816 |

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.

Mastercard SpendingPulse defines “retail sales” as sales at retailers and food services merchants of all sizes. Sales activity within the hospitality sector (such as Airlines and Hospitality) are measured by SpendingPulse but not included in the total retail sales figure. SpendingPulse insights are not indicative of Mastercard company performance; insights and forecast are subject to change

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.