Jan 2, 2023
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Fashion, beauty spend rose in 2022 as post-pandemic consumers focused on their looks

Jan 2, 2023

2022 may have been a tough year on many fronts but UK consumer spending (including retail and other spending) rose 10.6%, compared to just 5.9% in 2021, Barclaycard has said. 

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However, that increase virtually mirrored the rate of inflation so didn’t really represent progress. Barclaycard added that inflation-aware consumers were “using smaller basket sizes as a way of managing budgets”.

In its 2022 trends report, the payments specialist said a key trend was face-to-face retail spending returning to growth, rising 8.3%, while online retail spending declined 12.2%.

The retail sector overall also saw an increase in the total number of card transactions (up 5%), yet the total amount spent at retail alone was down 0.8%.

The company also said that consumers investing in their appearances was a major trend. The reduction in working from home, and the return of holidays and nights out, corresponded with people spending on non-essentials. This meant pharmacy, health & beauty retailers, as well as clothing and department stores saw noticeable growth compared to 2021 (14.7%, 11.2% and 7.4%, respectively), with consumers updating their looks and wardrobes by purchasing new make-up, clothes and accessories.

And it seems men were “the keenest to upgrade their looks”, with their spending on both clothing and pharmacy, health & beauty rising faster than that of women. Across the year, men spent 12.2% more on clothing, compared to 11% for women, and 15.9% more on pharmacy, health & beauty, compared to 14.5% for women.

The higher fashion and beauty spend came as social spending such as going out and going on holiday bounced back. So reports last year of higher spend on items such as partywear, suits and swimwear came as little surprise. 

Barclaycard said overall spend last year at general retailers & catalogues fell 9.9% while transactions fell 9.5%; department store spend rose by the aforementioned 7.4% and transactions rose 14.7%; discount store spend fell 2.7% and transactions rose 1.1%; the 11.2% clothing spend rise was accompanied by a 14.7% expansion in transactions; and the equivalent rise for pharmacy, health & beauty was accompanied by 18.3% transaction growth; while sports & outdoor spend fell 2.8% and transactions grew 4%.

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