Spending in restaurants increased 12.2.% year-on-year while pubs saw a 12.5% boost during the fifth-warmest March on record.
Hotels also recorded their ninth consecutive month of double-digit growth (12.3%), though this was likely driven by the depreciation of the pound compared to last year.
In contrast supermarket spending fell 0.3% as retailers felt the impact of the late Easter weekend.
The study brings good news for the eating out sector. Barlaycard said the data showed people were continuing to prioritise the ‘experience economy’, including hospitality and leisure, despite the rising prices of everyday goods.
“Robust growth in spending on ‘nice-to-haves’ does suggest consumers are still willing to treat themselves, especially on experiences with friends and family,” said Paul Lockstone, managing director at Barclaycard.
However, future growth could be less buoyant with 52% of consumers indicating they are increasingly concerned about the rising cost of day-to-day items.
“We see a significant proportion planning to go to greater lengths to seek out value in their everyday purchases, and it will be interesting to see the impact of this behaviour on the economic landscape,” said Lockstone.