Travel spend grew 7% and transactions jumped 28% in August as the summer washout prompted more trips abroad
Levels of travel spend continued an above-average performance with growth of 8.1% this summer, more than double the 3.2% seen over the same period last year, according to latest data from Barclaycard.
Last summer, growth in spending on travel - which includes holidays, airlines and hotels - peaked at 5.3% in August.
But a doubling in travel-related transactions from last summer to this led to growth of 10.3% in June, 6.9% in July and 7% last month.
A surge in last-minute travel has seen consumers supplement their already-booked breaks with additional shorter trips to escape the British washout.
These often-shorter, and therefore cheaper, trips have led to a 15.3% fall in the average transaction value for travel spend this summer.
British Airways’ owner International Airlines Group, Ryanair and easyJet have all reported strong results for the year to date, on the back of fuller aircraft.
With airlines not needing to cut fares to sell the last of the summer’s seats, the average transaction value for airline spending was down just 0.4% this summer, compared to 7.6% last year.
The number of hotel transactions was 10.5% higher in August, and is up 11.4% over the past three months.
Overall spend growth on hotels dipped to 6.5% over the summer – down 0.5 percentage points on last year – thanks to a 4.3% fall in average spend levels, as shorter stays and last-minute deals brought down individual transaction levels.
Barclaycard chief operating officer, Chris Wood, said: “Even accounting for seasonal fluctuations August saw weaker than expected growth in consumer spending at home, as households countered another typically wet and cold British August by heading abroad.
“The number of travel transactions jumped 28% last month – a record for August – helping drive a 7% increase in spending on holidays and family trips. This is being driven by shorter, cheaper trips, which is shown in the lower average spend.
“Restaurants, supermarkets, clothing stores and household stores all saw lower levels of transactions compared to last year, though department stores and pubs benefitted as consumers retreated indoors to avoid getting wet.
“With the country forecast to experience an Indian summer this month, it’ll be interesting to see whether spending levels recover.”
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