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Card Expenditure Statistics March 2014

May 2014

To access the March 2014 card expenditure statistics and the detailed sector breakdown please click here.

Retail sector and service sector card spending both grow strongly and hit 12 month highs

Card spending in the retail and services sectors grew strongly in March 2014, reflecting continued strong UK economic growth and as consumers spend more on disposable goods and services, such as restaurants and hotels.

Retail spending now stands at £23.1bn, up 5.1 per cent annually, whilst service spending is £23.3bn, a rise of 9.9 per cent, the fastest rates of growth in the last year, in part driven by people having greater freedom to spend on non-essential and luxury goods.

Richard Koch, Head of Policy at The UK Cards Association, said:

“Spending on cards has again increased strongly this month as consumers find they have more money to spend as the economy continues to improve. We can see people are spending more and more of their money on non-essential services such as restaurants and pubs, as well as on holidays and hotels as disposable income grows.”

Spending on debit and credit cards also hit record levels for the month of March 2014 as £46.4bn was spent, up by £0.2bn, and 7.4 per cent year on year.

Debit card spending continued to outstrip the rise in credit card spending with growth at 8.3 per cent and 5.4 per cent respectively. This again demonstrates that even as consumers become more confident in their spending habits, they would still prefer not to pay with borrowed money. This reflects trends seen elsewhere which show, for instance, that in spite of a 20 per cent rise in spending on credit cards since 2008, outstanding balances have fallen by £8.9 billion during the same period as consumers use their cards more wisely.[2]

Spending by sector

The key movements to note are:

  • In the retail sector, there was strong growth in clothing sales as year on year growth grew by 5.1 per cent, the biggest increase in the last 12 months to £2.2bn.
  • In the services sector, spending on entertainment grew by 8.4 per cent year on year (to £3.7bn) whilst hotel expenditure increased by a huge 9.4 per cent (to £1.2bn).
  • Elsewhere, restaurant spending reached its highest level for any period during the last 12 months, comfortably outstripping the busy Christmas period, to £1.8bn, an increase of £400m compared with March 2013.[3]
  • Also, expenditure on vehicle sales and services grew strongly to £3.1bn, a £500m rise compared with this time last year.


For further information please contact The UK Cards Association Press Office on 020 3217 8436 or email

Notes to Editors:

  1. The full March 2014 Card Expenditure Statistics, include detailed retail and service sector data, are available here. Total spending figures are seasonally adjusted.
  2. Credit card debt falls despite sustained rise in spending.
  3. Sub-sector level spending figures have not been seasonally adjusted.
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