Online spending dips for first time since 2013

Consumer spending increased by 0.5% year-on-year in April, marking the weakest pace for three months
Consumer spending increased by 0.5% year-on-year in April, marking the weakest pace for three months

Consumer spending online has dipped year-on-year for the first time since 2013, according to an index.

A 0.1% annual fall in e-commerce spending was recorded in April - marking the first decline since September 2013.

By contrast, face-to-face spending on the high street increased for the first time this year so far, with a 0.3% annual uplift in April.

Overall, consumer spending increased by 0.5% year-on-year in April, marking the weakest pace for three months, Visa’s UK Consumer Spending Index found.

The report said the increase in face-to-face spending is likely to have been supported by the Easter holidays - with sales of chocolate eggs and hot cross buns helping food and drink spending rise at the fastest rate in three years.

The fall in e-commerce spending follows an 8.2% increase recorded in March.

Looking at different types of spending, hotels, restaurants and bars were the best-performing sector, with spending up by 9.2% year-on-year.

Meanwhile, food and drink retailers posted the steepest increase in spending for three years, with a 5.9% increase, while spending on clothing and footwear increased by 2.3% - the strongest spending uplift for six months.

Spending on recreation and culture, which includes cinemas and bookshops, was up by 2.8% year-on-year although this was the slowest growth seen in this category for eight months.

Spending on health and education was down 9.5% year-on-year, while spending on transport and communication saw a 9.2% year-on-year fall.

The index, compiled by Markit, uses spending on Visa cards as a base and adjusts the figures to reflect overall consumer spending, not just that on cards.

Kevin Jenkins, UK and Ireland MD at Visa, said: “Consumer spending slowed down further in April, as consumers tightened their belts in the face of rising prices against stalling wage growth.