New data from the U.K. Office for National Statistics and the Bank of England show that debit and credit card purchases in the country have fallen 35 percent from what they were prior to the pandemic, according to a press release.
The study found that spending did increase during the holiday period in 2020 by 4 percent, driven by festive spending on food as well as “delayables” like clothing, footwear, luxury items and more. This kind of increase is normal for December even outside of pandemic conditions, the release stated.
Since the week of Christmas, spending has fallen again, and the study shows it’s stayed fairly low on most categories of spending, including work-related and social matters, as the pandemic has continued, the release stated.
Because of all the conditions, spending on “delayables” has descended to 49 percent lower than its status in February, according to the release.
Since March when the pandemic took hold, consumers have settled into a lifestyle of staying home to avoid contracting or spreading the virus. In the U.K., there were also restrictions extended on Boxing Day by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, followed by the start of a national lockdown as cases of the virus surpassed 1 million, and the death toll hit 46,555, PYMNTS reported.
Stats from the Office for National Statistics showed that one in 100 people in the U.K. had COVID-19, a rise from earlier numbers showing one in 200 had been infected, and a steep fall from July when one in 2,300 were infected, the report stated.
According to a PYMNTS survey, for many citizens, returning to a public lifestyle as it was before the pandemic isn’t high on their list of priorities. On average, consumers are not expecting to go back to their pre-pandemic lives until this fall. For most survey respondents (58 percent), the biggest motivator is the COVID-19 vaccine becoming widely available.