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Online spending UK grows at fastest rate for 16 months

Online consumer spending in the United Kingdom increased by 8.4 percent in April compared to the same month last year. This annual increase was the fastest seen in the UK ecommerce industry since December 2014. In Ireland, consumers even spent 18.7 percent more in April than they did one year ago.

The recent figures are from the UK Consumer Spending Index [pdf], which is compiled by Markit on behalf of Visa Europe. The month of April signaled a solid rise in overall UK household expenditure, with a 2.5 percent year-on-year increase. But through ecommerce channels, the expenditure growth was more impressive. In the United Kingdom, consumers spent on average 8.4 percent more than they did twelve months ago. This was up from a 4.1 percent increase in March, but it also means the strongest growth rate since December 2014.

UK spending

“A very strong month for online sellers suggests much of the experience economy is being driven by pre-booking of activities online”, comments Kevin Jenkins, UK & Ireland Managing Director at Visa Europe. “While online prospered, face-to-face spending was relatively flat, highlighting the current discussion about the future shape of the high street as well.” Since May started sunny, it could mean consumers will spend some of their money on the high street again instead of online, but nice weather could also boost online sales of restaurants and hotels.

More ecommerce spending in Ireland

In Ireland, the expenditure growth in April was even better than in the UK, with consumers spending 18.7 percent more than they did one year ago. Philip Konopik, Visa Europe’s country manager for Ireland, also thinks the weather may have had something to do with the impressive growth rate. “Poor weather will have contributed to the ecommerce spike, but also the strong increase in recreation and culture spend, particularly on cruises and travel to the United States, is a clear sign of increased optimism among households”, he explains.

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