James Bond and Squid Game ‘helped boost household spending in October’

No Time To Die and Squid Game helped households spike digital content and entertainment spending in October, according to figures from a card provider.

According to Barclaycard, spending on cinema bookings showed the strongest growth since October 2019 – mainly due to the launch of the new James Bond film No Time to Die.

Overall, entertainment spending increased 28.4% compared to two years earlier.

Popular series and box sets such as Squid Game and Succession increased demand for subscription services, with spending on digital content and subscriptions increasing 38.6% compared to two years earlier.

Barclaycard, which handles nearly half of the UK’s credit and debit card transactions, compared spending in October 2021 to October 2019 to allow for a comparison before the introduction of coronavirus-related restrictions in the UK.

Overall, consumer card spending rose 14.2% in October compared to two years earlier, Barclaycard said.

Consumer research also found that nine in ten (88%) consumers said they were concerned about the impact of rising inflation on their household finances. A similar proportion (89%) fear that rising bills will have a negative impact on household finances.

Three in ten (29%) of those who worry about rising household bills cut social events, including drinks and meals.

A separate report from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) said retail sales rose 1.3% year over year in October, up from 0.6% annual growth in September.

Helen Dickinson, CEO of the BRC, said, “Customer demand is back on track before Christmas as sales grew faster than the previous month.”

She added, “As the social calendars filled with festivities, clothes and shoes were selling well. Meanwhile, sales of furniture and electrical appliances have been slowed down by global logistics problems and a shortage of microchips.

“As Halloween was severely restricted by the pandemic last year, chocolates and children’s costumes sold a treat as families made the most of the opportunity.

“Some people started their Christmas shopping early with beauty advent calendars flying off the shelves and searching online for Christmas items.”

Paul Martin, UK retail manager at KPMG, which makes the retail sales monitor with the BRC, said Christmas shoppers may not get huge discounts on popular items.

He said, “The limited availability of inventory has resulted in strong price momentum, which means we are unlikely to see big discounts this Christmas, and many retailers will hope that consumers will be ready to buy the most sought-after gifts at any price .

“With rising costs hurting most retailers, all hope is that demand will remain strong as consumers schedule a record Christmas, shop early for the coveted gifts, and spend more than last year when the Christmas celebrations were canceled.

“The main concern now is how retail will develop up to 2022 after Christmas.”

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