Take from it what you will, (and read it in parallel with the report on the massive amount of unsecured debt in the UK), but surely one of the most interesting points to see in the latest Visa report on consumer spending is that although we still buy a lot of things, we are spending more on experiences than objects. Travel, eating out, entertainment and the like don't take up any space in our crowded homes, just time in our crowded lives!
Consumer spending continued to increase solidly in the run up to Christmas, rounding off the fastest growing quarter for two years. Average year-on-year growth for each month in Q4 2016 was 2.8%, twice as high as the average rates for Q2 and Q3. Online retailers enjoyed strong sales over the whole Christmas period, while shops saw an improvement, after a disappointing dip in November, as consumers made a last minute dash for gifts on the high street. Growth was once again led by the experience sector, with consumers going to Christmas markets, travelling to visit loved ones, or venturing to various parts of the country to celebrate. Food was, unsurprisingly, another sector which performed well, with spend up 2.9%. Spend on clothing and household goods, however, fell in December following a Black Friday boost in the previous month.