Spending stays local as coronavirus alters shopping habits
Households’ spending on commuting costs has plunged by nearly 90% compared with a year ago, while fuel expenditure has fallen by 55%, according to a bank’s analysis of customer habits.
Lloyds Bank compared trends under life on lockdown with a year ago, based on the debit card spending of its customers.
People are also travelling around half the distance they would normally to spend.
The median average distance people are travelling from home to use a debit card is down 57% from 3.7km last year to 1.6km.
Cutting out non-essential travel is having a huge impact on where people’s money is going.
On March 10, spend on commuting costs was 1% higher than the same time the previous year. But by April 1, people were spending 89% less. And with more staying at home and car usage allowed for only limited purposes, spending on fuel had fallen by 55%.
Lloyds’ data also showed volatility in supermarket spending throughout March and into April, reflecting an initial period of panic buying ahead of more stringent social distancing measures.
Supermarket spending peaked on March 19, with a 76% spike in the amount spent compared with the same period in 2019. Grocery spending then fell back and has since increased at a more gentle pace.
Spending on electrical goods has also seen an uptick as people spend more time at home.
But recreation spending has been hard hit. This includes spending on gyms, theatres and cinemas. Spending in this category fell by two-thirds (65%) compared with a year earlier.
Gabby Collins, head of payments, Lloyds Bank, said: “The trends that we have seen from our customers mirror what is being asked of all of us as a society. March’s spending data has shown a real shift in where our money is going during lockdown.
“While the more extreme spending behaviour we saw before the stringent social distancing measures came in already started to settle, it’s likely that spending will continue to reflect the unprecedented times we currently face. Over the coming weeks, many will be striving to find a balance in their finances.”