Hospitality and leisure sector hardest hit by Omicron in December

By BigHospitality

- Last updated on GMT

Hospitality and leisure sector hardest hit by Omicron in December

Related tags: Hospitality, Omicron, Barclaycard

The impact of restrictions and fears over the Omicron variant hit the hospitality and leisure sectors in the run up to Christmas, the latest data from Barclaycard has confirmed.

Hospitality and leisure sectors were among the hardest hit as a result of the latest Coronavirus restrictions, according to data from Barclaycard, which sees nearly half of the nation’s credit and debit card transactions.

Consumer card spending at restaurants declined by 14.1% compared to a 3.5% fall in November, while bars, pubs and clubs saw noticeably smaller growth of 21.2% compared to 35% the previous month.

Entertainment also saw a sizeable month-on-month decrease, rising just 0.7% in December compared to growth of 22.8% the previous month. However, among 16-24-year-olds, spending in this category grew 23.3%, as younger consumers visited festive attractions, such as Christmas markets and fairs, says Barclaycard.

The travel sector also had a challenging December, with hotels, resorts and accommodation returning to decline - down 1.9% - for the first time since May 2021, as Brits put staycation plans on hold.

Barclaycard says the wider economic picture is encouraging consumers to be more cautious with their discretionary spending, with 43% of people expecting rising inflation to affect their household budgeting.

“While consumer card spending levels are up on 2019, December was a mixed picture for retail, hospitality and leisure, as restrictions to tackle the spread of Omicron started to take effect,” says Jose Carvalho, head of consumer products at Barclaycard.

“More Brits were either isolating or choosing to stay at home due to the new variant, which hampered face-to-face retailers as well as hospitality and leisure outlets.

While consumer card spending increased 12.2% in December compared to the same period in 2019 this was largely driven by a 14% rise in supermarket shopping, as consumers stocked up on festive food and drink.


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