Pandemic puts brakes on spending in 2020

 As we enter another lockdown period, many households and businesses will doubtless be talking about “tightening their belts”.

But as 2020 showed, the great British public are more than capable of reducing their outgoings when spending options are limited.  

New research by Barclaycard has shown that people spent less and saved more in 2020 as the pandemic led to shops, pubs and attractions being closed.

Consumer spending was down 7.1% yet spending on essential items climbed 4.1%.

As big supporters of independent traders and retailers, SW&A were pleased to read that independent businesses benefited as many more of us shopped locally.

Data showed that we spent an extra 28.6% at independent food and drink shops, compared with a year earlier. This could well be another trend that is here for the long term as Barclaycard’s research showed that 57% of Brits were keen to increase their support of nearby businesses due to lockdown and tier restrictions.

Online grocery shopping rocketed by 70.3% over the year while the amount we spent on fuel fell by more than a fifth – 20.3% – as we made far fewer trips and petrol prices dropped.

We also spent 15.6% less on clothing, presumably because many people worked from home and there were no events, weddings, parties or holidays that required new outfits.

Meanwhile Brits working from home saved an average £110 a week, according to a separate survey from Aldermore Bank.

Weekly savings include £29 from not commuting, £20 on not spending as much on breakfasts and lunches, £22 on not socialising with work colleagues, £18 by avoiding takeaway coffees and £22 on not going out on weekdays.

However, it is not all good news as many in our community have been unable to get into the savings habit. 

Thousands have been made redundant or had their hours cut and may be facing a struggle to cover the basics such as household bills and mortgage or rent payments. Many others run their own businesses which have been unable to gain any kind of momentum or even operate at all.  

During this period of uncertainty, SW&A would like to encourage people to support local – and independent – business wherever possible and if you are happy with the service you have received, make sure you spread the word!