A 58.9% reduction in spending on fuel in April has been recorded by Barclaycard, which claims to handle nearly half of the nation’s credit and debit card transactions.
The slump in fuel transactions was the main factor in an overall 7.5% decline in spending on essential items.
Supermarkets, meanwhile, continued to see a boost in sales – climbing 14.3% as consumers made larger shops and prepared more meals at home.
Spending on non-essentials fell by 47.7% with travel, which includes public transport, seeing a decline of 86.8% as much of the UK stopped commuting. Bars, pubs and clubs contracted by 96.9%.
Food and drink specialist stores – which includes off-licences, greengrocers, independent convenience stores, butchers and bakeries – were a bright spot, seeing 37.7% growth.
Online spend for eating and drinking – which includes takeaways – also saw growth of 24.6% as diners treated themselves, while also helping to support local restaurants.
Esme Harwood, director at Barclaycard, said: “It’s been a tough time for retailers as consumer spending has dropped considerably under lockdown. There are some bright spots, though, as Brits have turned their focus online and looked to takeaways, digital subscriptions and DIY to keep entertained and occupied.
“A renewed sense of community may be welcome news for independent businesses, with a growing desire to support local stores in life after lockdown.”