Online spending growth hit a four-year high in August as the wet summer weather drove more people to shop from the comfort of their homes.
Figures released today based on credit and debit card transactions from Visa Europe show online retailers enjoyed a 10.7 per cent jump in the spending year-on-year in August, the sharpest rise since October 2011.
That compares with 6.3 per cent growth in July and contrasts with a more modest rise of 1.4 per cent on the high street, as shoppers fled for cover from the rain.
Despite the weather, Britons still made the most of the holidays by splashing out on trips to the cinema and theme parks, with household spending rising by 1.9 per cent.
Kevin Jenkins, Visa Europe’s UK & Ireland managing director, said: “Overall it’s been a strong summer for the British tourism industry. Like July, Brits are spending on family fun, meals and entertainment in particular. Indeed, we’ve never seen such strong growth in recreation and culture spending in six years of tracking.
“The other big winner has been online retailers. While August’s mixed weather didn’t put off family activities, it did create a 10 per cent surge in online spending at the same time. The end of summer online sales likely contributed too to a bumper month for online merchants.”
Spending on recreation and culture, which includes cinemas, theme parks and aquariums, recorded its highest level of growth in six years, up 6.1 per cent compared with August last year.
Hotels, restaurants and bars also performed well, with spending up 8.9 per cent. Household goods rose by 1.4 per cent but clothing and footwear retailers were hit, with spending down for the ninth month in a row at 1.8 per cent.
Visa, which handles £1 in £3 of all UK spending, said that the data together with a number of positive economic factors pointed to further growth in household expenditure in upcoming months and further GDP expansion in the third quarter.