Back-to-school season expected to boost retail sales in Europe, according to Mastercard Spendingpulse

September 1, 2022 | Brussels
  • Predicted total retail sales up across Spain, Czech Republic and UK, with the first two weekends in September set to see spending increases across Europe
  • Apparel projected to see the most growth across Europe as people refresh their wardrobes ahead of the September re-start

As the Summer holidays draw to a close, families are preparing to return to schools and offices, and retailers are in the midst of the key back-to-school shopping season in most markets across Europe. According to Mastercard SpendingPulse™, which measures in-store and online retail sales across all forms of payment, total retail sales* are expected to grow year-over-year – with both rising prices and consumer demand contributing factors.

Looking at the primary back-to-school period of 15th August to 16th September, year-over-year sales growth is expected to be particularly strong in Spain, Czech Republic and the UK, up 13%, 10% and 10% respectively. The first two weekends in September are expected to see the sharpest growth.

This spending season will be defined by choice; whilst in-store shopping will regain momentum year-over-year, while e-commerce sales growth will remain elevated compared to before the pandemic. Notably, retailers are expected to offer promotions across channels as they compete for consumer purchasing power.

‘The back-to-school period is one of the key spending seasons for retailers—and a critical bellwether of the fortitude of the consumer. Mastercard SpendingPulse indicates that back-to-school retail sales will be healthy this year, particularly for the apparel sector’, said Natalia Lechmanova, Senior Economist, Europe, Mastercard. ‘As inflation continues to run high, mindful consumers are prioritizing experiences like restaurants and travel, as they pull back spending on durable goods like housewares.’

In terms of what consumers are buying this back-to-school season, we anticipate the following retail trends:

  • Wardrobe Refresh: Clothing and jewellery sales are likely to see solid growth in most measured markets. We predict the most considerable YoY growth in both those sectors will happen in France with clothing sales anticipated to be up 23% and Jewellery sales up 30%, followed by Spain, up 21% and 19% respectively. Poland (+24%) and Germany (+15%) are also expected to see significant YoY clothing growth.
  • Experience Purchases Return: Tourism-related sectors, such as Restaurants and Lodging are expected to grow as families make the most of the last few weeks of Summer. France should see a 25%YoY growth in Lodging and 14% in Restaurants; Spain should see a 13% growth in Restaurants; and UK should see a 5% YoY growth in Lodging and 4% in restaurants.
  • The House is Already a Home: Sectors such as Electronics and Furniture should continue to see reduced year-over-year growth as demand slows post-pandemic, except for France in Furniture sales (16% YoY), and Spain, with exceptional double-digit growth expected for both Electronics (11% YoY) and Furniture (39% YoY).

Notes to editors:
*Total retail sales excludes automotive and is not adjusted for inflation

Media Contacts

Alice Brown, Mastercard

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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