Consumer spending rose 4.3% year-on-year in the first three months of 2017, with entertainment spend up 10.4%, the latest data from Barclaycard has shown.
The data showed that the proportion of those confident in the UK economy rose to 41% the second highest level recorded in the last 12 months, however caution remains over the prospect over price rises later this year.
March was an especially strong month for the eating and drinking out sector, according to Barclaycard, with entertainment spend up 11.6%, visits to pubs increasing 12.5% and restaurants up 12.2%.
Paul Lockstone, managing director at Barclaycard, said: “Robust growth in spending on ‘nice-to-haves’ suggests consumers are still willing to treat themselves, especially on experiences with friends and family.”
The data also shows that 70% of consumers are confident in their household finances with 57% feeling confident to spend more on non-essential items.
Consumers are, however, feeling less upbeat about the near future, with the inflationary pressures of recent months giving them cause for concern. Over half (52%) are more worried about the cost of day-to-day items than they were this time last year, with 74% citing a more expensive weekly shop as the reason.
Looking ahead, six in 10 consumers say they expect to make changes to how and where they spend their money over the remainder of the year.