Consumers are still finding room in their personal budgets for discretionary purchases, despite the rising cost of living.

Hospitality and leisure spending grew by 18.3% in March, data from Barclaycard reveals.

This was boosted by a 41.7% surge in spending at bars, pubs and clubs, as the lifting of all remaining restrictions at the end of February encouraged people to go out for a drink.

Non-essential spending was up 17.5% compared to the same period in 2019.

Overall, spending grew 17.7% in March compared to the same period in 2019, as Brits took advantage of the sunnier weather.

However, the cost of living is causing increasing concern for most UK adults, with travel plans and shopping preferences changing in response to rising fuel and food prices.

Entertainment enjoyed an uplift (20.3%), driven by cinema-goers watching major releases such as ‘The Batman’, while takeaways and fast food soared 79.6% compared to three years ago, reflecting a lockdown trend which has become a mainstay for many households.

In a sign that the staycation boom is set to continue, hotels, resorts & accommodation enjoyed a boost of 15.3% compared to the same period in 2019, as holidaymakers made plans to take trips and breaks across the UK.

José Carvalho, head of consumer products at Barclaycard, said: “Many sectors saw strong growth in March compared to the same period in 2019, as sunnier weather encouraged Brits to socialise at pubs and bars, book staycations and update their wardrobes for spring and summer.

“However, rising fuel prices and household bills are clearly starting to influence consumer behaviour, with many Brits changing their travel and shopping habits to save money. While this may dampen growth in the months ahead, we shouldn’t overlook the expected heatwave later in April, and the fast-approaching Easter holidays, both of which are likely to boost non-essential spending.”