The number of clothing purchases in the first part of November grew by 0.2 per cent, down from 3.6 per cent growth in October and its weakest growth in two years; DIY transactions more than halved from 3.8 per cent to 1.5 per cent, the lowest increase since March; and electronics stores saw growth in the number of purchases fall from 2.6 per cent growth to 1.4 per cent – the lowest in two years.
Spending fell to 2.2 per cent in the first three weeks – down from 4.1 per cent in October, and nearly half the 4.0 per cent growth seen last November.
Barclaycard chief operating officer Chris Wood said: "Yet again, Black Friday proved a big draw for consumers this year. Consumers seem to have geared up for the main event this time round, holding back on buying anything other than the bare essentials in the weeks leading up to it. Spending in the three weeks prior to Black Friday fell to its lowest level in 18 months and was just half that of last November.
"Online spending on Black Friday was up 15 per cent year-on-year, with consumers deciding to avoid last year’s in-store stampedes and shop from the comfort of the sofa. As a result the share of spending carried out online jumped from a quarter to just under a third. With consumers now holding back their Christmas shopping until the deals start to emerge, the Black Friday weekend is now firmly established as the biggest shopping event of the year."
Meanwhile, UK businesses have seen a 24 per cent rise in annual income growth since 2010, according to the latest Barclays SME Income Index.
Analysis of the current account levels of Barclays small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in 2015 showed that year-on-year, the annual growth rate of business income has slowed, from a high of eight per cent in 2014, to four per cent. Last year’s annual growth rate of eight per cent was the biggest in 14 years. Yet with some annual income growth having occurred in 2015 SMEs are projected to continue to experience growth in 2016.
The strongest performing business sectors for annual income growth in 2015 include real estate and construction as the UK’s property boom continues. Construction has risen to first place in the Index for highest credit income, from third in 2014. The Real Estate sector dipped from top position to second place while the Arts moved from seventh to third and transport from eleventh to fourth. Positive annual income growth was achieved across all sectors, bar agriculture and education.
The region with highest annual income growth was London (5.2 per cent) followed by the North-West (4.7 per cent), up from fourth position to second. Rising from eighth to third place is new entrant to the top four, the East Midlands (4.4 per cent). East England (4 per cent) is in fourth position, falling from third place last year.
Barclays business banking head Adam Rowse said:"2014’s credit income growth rate was exceptionally high and the biggest since the turn of the century so 2015’s growth rate of four per cent is still an indicator of a thriving year for UK businesses.
"It is understandable that construction and real estate are the sectors with the biggest annual income growth as the UK property sector continues to boom. It is encouraging to see that all regions saw a rise in annual income growth, with northern and southern regions equally represented in the top four, a positive indicator of the strength of SMEs all over the UK."