Falling prices, stronger wage growth and record-high employment saw restaurant spend rise 16.7 per cent year-on-year while the pub trade saw a 14 per cent boost in sales - the highest reading in the past 13 months.
Consumers spent 7.7 per cent more on travel, driven by the lack of May sunshine, while hotel spending was up 5.7 per cent on the same period last year.
Chris Wood, chief operating office at Barclaycard, credited the ‘clear election result’ as contributing to a boost in consumer confidence.
He said: “With the election result removing some of the lingering uncertainty of how household budgets might fare in the future and deflation providing further opportunity to cut the cost of essentials, consumers have been quick to make the most of their increased spending power.”
“Spending on entertainment and leisure was up strongly in May. Consumers’ feeling of confidence is leading to them spending more on the enjoyable things in life.”
The rise of eating and drinking-out spend may be linked to the rise of food as a vital part of the pub sector, with figures from NPD Group indicating that fewer than one in ten pub visits are now solely drink occasions.
Spending remained strong throughout Q1 of 2015, with the eating out sector set to remain strong throughout Q2 with 24 per cent of consumers planning to visit more restaurants.