To get it out of the way, let’s start with the staples category. There’s little change here, with it following the same pattern of a boost after pay days, and then a decline over the rest of the month. There seemed to be a bigger than usual decline in May, which may be due to the extra spending in the social category over the bank holiday weekend.
The delayable category has been declining since its huge spike in April when non-essential shops open. This slow decrease is to be expected as things like clothing and cars don’t need replacing quickly, but nevertheless, levels are still below what they were pre-pandemic.
Let’s turn to social spending. With hospitality venues allowing people indoors, we may have expected a bigger jump after the last pay day, but instead it’s fairly modest. But we should remember how large a recovery it’s made so far, and that levels exceeded the bank holiday weekend ones. Bar and pub owners aren’t where they want to be just yet, but the picture is looking brighter each day.
Finally we have work-related spending, which skyrocketed towards the end of May. Coinciding with further lockdown easing, this suggests many more people are getting back to work. With some companies reopening offices, this could be a good sign for the social category as more people are now about to grab takeaway coffees and pop out for food on their lunch breaks.
All in all, we have a picture of ongoing recovery, but one that shows consumer spending is not going to snap back in an instant. People and businesses are still cautious, cases are rising again in the UK, and many consumers may be hesitant about spending when the future is uncertain.
While the data is looking positive now, it’s important to not get overconfident.
If you want to take a look at the CHAPS data, you can find it here, with the next dataset released on June 17.
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The Brandwatch React team