Consumer behaviour indicators showed decreased activity in the latest week, with falls in UK credit and debit purchases (by 2 percentage points) and UK seated diners (by 16 percentage points); meanwhile, “workplace visits” increased by 14% (Bank of England CHAPS data, OpenTable, Google Mobility). Section 3.
In the week ending 4 September 2022, estimated quantity of automotive fuel demand per average transaction was 90% of the equivalent week of 2021; over the last month estimated quantity of automotive fuel demand per transaction has gradually increased, coinciding with the fall in average fuel prices (compilation of sources including aggregated anonymised card spending data, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Office for National Statistics calculations). Section 3.
The latest business and workforce metrics show a varied picture, with a very slight fall in total online job adverts and decreases in 13 of the 28 categories; meanwhile, a net 2% of firms reported increasing turnover in August 2022 when compared with the previous month (Adzuna, HM Revenue and Customs Value Added Tax returns). Section 4.
A net 42% of trading businesses reported an increase in the prices of goods or services bought in August 2022 compared with July 2022; in comparison, a net 18% of businesses reported an increase in the prices of goods or services sold over the same period (initial results from Wave 65 of the Business Insights and Conditions Survey (BICS)). Section 4.
Transport indicators showed a mixed picture this week, with cargo and tanker ship visits increasing by 5%, daily UK flights falling by 2% and road traffic levels broadly unchanged from the previous week (exactEarth, EUROCONTROL, Department for Transport). Section 5.
The System Average Price (SAP) of gas fell by 31% in the week to 11 September 2022 following a new peak level seen two weeks ago; it is now 106% higher than the equivalent level seen on 12 September 2021 (National Grid).
The breaks in the shipping timelines are because of method changes and technical issues.
Revolut adjustments to user count are at an aggregate level and as such, age bands may not adjust evenly.
Users should note that card spending over time is pushed upwards by the impacts of both inflation on value of transactions, and cash-to-card conversion.
Users should note that the week-on-week and year-on-year changes in automotive fuel price and demand indicators are the point differences of the indexed numbers, so may not match the percentage levels provided in the commentary.
UK seated diners fell by 16 percentage points in the week to 11 September 2022 but were 117% of the level in the equivalent week of 2019. Seated diner levels in London decreased by 4 percentage points and were 15 percentage points lower than the equivalent week of 2019.
Pret A Manger transactions increased in most locations in the week to 8 September 2022. The largest increases were seen in the London city worker and Manchester stores, which both saw an increase of 19 percentage points in the latest week. The only two regions to see a week-on-week fall in transactions were Yorkshire and Scotland, which fell by 8 and 6 percentage points, respectively. All three transport categories - London stations, London airports and regional stations - saw transactions increase by 7 percentage points in the latest week. Our accompanying dataset: Transactions at Pret A Manger is available.
Google Mobility data showed that in the week to 9 September 2022, "park" visits decreased by 25%, while visits to "retail and recreation" fell by 6%. Elsewhere, "workplaces" visits increased by 14% and were 79% of their pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) levels. Our accompanying dataset: Visits to location types using Google Mobility is available.
Please note that this indicator will no longer be published from October 2022, or soon thereafter. Further information is available on the Google Community Mobility Reports website.
Users should note that none of these data are seasonally adjusted, and the previous week coincided with the August bank holiday on 31 August 2022.
Automotive fuel insights
We analyse here the behavioural impacts of cost-of-living pressures on consumer demand for automotive fuel. Card spending data, in combination with Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) total average road fuel sales data, provide a quantitative and behavioural dimension.
Automotive fuel insights include these indicators:
estimated quantity of automotive fuel demand per average transaction is an experimental indicator used to isolate real demand after adjusting for growth in fuel prices; this indicator captures how consumer demand for fuel changes in response to rising fuel prices per visit at pumps over time but does not consider changes in the frequency of purchases
average UK retail pump prices for petrol and diesel is an indicator compiled from six companies (four oil companies and two supermarkets) (BEIS)
average road fuel sales are included in this bulletin to provide a UK representative overview of automotive fuel trends (BEIS)
This analysis presents year-on-year growth to reduce the impacts of seasonality in card spending data. As experimental statistics, these data are subject to revisions as our methodology and systems are refined. The data are not seasonally adjusted. More information is provided in our accompanying methodology article: Behavioural impact of rising automotive fuel prices on UK consumers.
Over the last month estimated quantity of automotive fuel demand per transaction has gradually increased, coinciding with the fall in average fuel prices. In the week to 4 September 2022, average fuel prices were at 131% of the level seen in the equivalent week of 2021, broadly unchanged from the previous week. Our accompanying dataset: Automotive fuel spending is available.
Revolut debit card transactions: daily card spending by sector
Revolut is a financial technology company with over five million users within the UK financial payment ecosystem. Revolut data are presented on a per-account basis to account for Revolut's high user-growth over time, so that comparisons can be made on a like-for-like basis over a longer data time series. Revolut customers tend to be younger and more metropolitan than the average UK consumer, so spending may not be representative of the overall UK macroeconomic picture.
"Betting" expenditure can be erratic and is omitted from the data as its inclusion would lead to volatility in the spending category "entertainment" that affects user interpretation.
More information on Revolut data is provided in the accompanying methodology article: Using Revolut cardholder data to derive real-time indicators of consumer spending.
Sectoral card spending shows consumer value spending over time across spending categories, which may provide insights into consumer behaviour in response to changing current events, preferences, governmental policy and other factors. These series are comprised of aggregated and mutually exclusive Merchant Category Codes, which are business attributes that classify businesses dependent upon their primary business category:
"retail spending" includes clothing, department, mixed retail, services and household stores
"food and drink" includes supermarkets, convenience and other food providers
"entertainment" includes membership clubs, cinemas, ticketed events, sports, galleries and tourist attractions
"pubs, restaurants, and fast food" includes pubs, nightclubs, restaurants and fast food
"travel" includes airlines, hotels and motoring
"automotive fuel" includes service stations and automated fuel dispensers
Figure 2: Card spending on “automotive fuel” fell by 29 percentage points in the week to 11 September 2022
Total spend by sectoral group, seven-day average, week ending 1 January 2020 to 11 September 2022, UK, non-seasonally adjusted, nominal prices
- Percentage point differences are derived before rounding.
Download the data
There were falls in all sectors in the week to 11 September 2022, the largest of which was in "automotive fuel" spending, which decreased by 29 percentage points. However, "automotive fuel" spending remains 27 percentage points higher than it was in the equivalent week of 2021, though users should note that card spending over time is pushed upwards by the impacts of both inflation on value of transactions, and cash-to-card conversion.
In the latest week, "entertainment" and "retail" spending fell by 14 and 13 percentage points, respectively.
Total debit card spending was down by 9 percentage points in the week to 11 September 2022. Over this period, debit card spending in the 35 to 54 years age category fell by 17 percentage points. Spending for those aged 18 to 34 years decreased by 6 percentage points while spending increased by 7 percentage points for those aged over 55 years.
UK spending on debit and credit cards: daily CHAPS-based indicator
These data series are experimental real-time indicators for estimating UK spending on credit and debit cards. They track the daily CHAPS payments made by credit and debit card payment processors to around 100 major UK retail corporates. These payments are the proceeds of recent credit and debit card transactions made by customers at their stores, both via physical and via online platforms. More information on the indicator is provided in the accompanying methodology article: Guide to the Bank of England's UK spending on credit and debit cards experimental data series.
Companies are allocated to one of four categories based on their primary business:
"staples" refers to companies that sell essential goods that households need to purchase, such as food and utilities
"work-related" refers to companies providing public transport or selling petrol
"delayable" refers to companies selling goods whose purchase could be delayed, such as clothing or furnishings
"social" refers to spending on travel and eating out
Figure 3 shows changes in the value of CHAPS payments received by large UK corporates from their credit and debit card processors, "merchant acquirers".
The spending categories recorded the following changes in the latest week:
"delayable" decreased by 4 percentage points
"work-related" (which includes spending on road fuel) decreased by 3 percentage points
"staple" remained broadly unchanged
"social" was unchanged
"Work-related" and "staple" spending were above their February 2020 average levels at 135% and 112%, respectively. "Social" and "delayable" spending remained below their February 2020 average levels at 96% and 80%, respectively.
UK spending on debit and credit cards: monthly CHAPS-based indicator
The monthly data time series is available in the accompanying dataset: UK spending on credit and debit cards and includes methodological notes that users should bear in mind. The monthly CHAPS index is calculated by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), rather than being an additional series that is produced and validated by the Bank of England.
The monthly CHAPS-based indicator of aggregate credit and debit card spending was at 97% of its February 2020 average level in August 2022. This is 5 percentage points lower than in July 2022 (102%) but 2 percentage points higher than in August 2021 (95%). This monthly fall meant the series was below 100% of the February 2020 average level for the first time since February 2022, when it was 96%.
There were falls in all spending categories in the monthly CHAPS -based indicator from July to August 2022. The largest decrease was in "work-related" spending, which includes spending on road fuel, which fell by 9 percentage points and followed growth of 13 percentage points in the previous month. Elsewhere, "delayable" spending fell by 5 percentage points, while "social" and "staple" spending both fell by 4 percentage points.Back to table of contents
The number of total online job advertisements has decreased in six of the last eight weeks, falling by 10% in the eight weeks from 15 July to 9 September 2022. It was broadly unchanged in the latest week, though, there were falls in 13 of the 28 categories, with the largest decrease in the "legal" category, which fell by 8%. The largest week-on-week increase was in the "scientific and QA" category, which rose by 11% when compared with the previous week.
The largest week-on-week regional growth in online job adverts was in Northern Ireland, with an increase of 3%. Meanwhile, the largest weekly fall was in the North East, which fell by 4%. Three of the 13 UK countries and English regions saw increases in online job adverts compared with the same day last week. Our accompanying dataset: Online job advert estimates is available.
Voluntary dissolution applications increased by 9% from the previous week in the week to 9 September 2022, while company incorporations increased by 19% over the same period. Our accompanying dataset: Company incorporations, voluntary dissolutions and compulsory dissolutions is available. Users should note that these week-on-week increases will be partially driven by increased activity following the August bank holiday in the previous period.
Potential redundancies in the week to 4 September 2022 were 53% of their pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) level, while the number of employers proposing redundancies are now 69% of their pre-coronavirus levels. Our accompanying dataset: Advanced notification of potential redundancies is available.
Value Added Tax flash estimates
Turnover diffusion indices are an aggregate measure used to track whether most firms are reporting an increase or decrease in turnover in their Value Added Tax (VAT) returns. They are calculated as the percentage of firms with increasing turnover minus the percentage with decreasing turnover.
The indices are constructed to lie between 1 and negative 1, so an index of 0.05 means that 5% more firms reported an increase in turnover compared with the previous month than those reporting a decrease in turnover. Conversely, an index of negative 0.05 means that 5% more firms reported a decrease in turnover compared with the previous month.
More information on the compilation and methodology of these estimates can be found in our Economic activity and social change in the UK, real-time indicators methodology.
Download this table Table 1: A net 2% of firms reported increasing turnover in August 2022 when compared with the previous month.xls .csv
A net 1% of firms in the construction industry reported increasing turnover in August 2022. This figure is notably higher than in August 2021 when a net 6% of firms reported decreasing turnover.
Data for all available industries, including seasonally adjusted month-on-month estimates and non-seasonally adjusted month-on-month and month-on-year estimates, for turnover and expenditure, are available in our accompanying dataset: VAT flash estimates.
Business impact and insights
Initial results from Wave 65 of the Business Insights and Conditions Survey (BICS) cover the reference period 1 August to 31 August 2022, with a response rate of 21.7% (8,227 responses). The survey was live for the period 5 September to 13 September 2022.
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Download this table Table 2: A net 42% of trading businesses reported an increase in the prices of goods or services bought in August 2022, while a net 18% reported an increase in the prices of goods or services sold.xls .csv
The seasonally adjusted average count of traffic camera activity for cars in London was unchanged from the previous week at 112% of the level recorded before the national lockdown in March 2020. Pedestrian and cyclist activity was down 3% over the same period and is 116% of its pre-lockdown level. Our accompanying dataset: Traffic camera activity is available.
Road traffic on Monday 12 August 2022 was 99% of the level seen on the Monday of the first week in February 2020. This was broadly unchanged from the previous week. Car traffic increased by 2 percentage points when compared with the previous week, while over the same period light commercial and heavy goods vehicle traffic was broadly unchanged.
The average number of UK flights in the week to 11 September 2022 fell by 2% and was 86% of the level seen in 2019. Our accompanying dataset: Daily UK flights is available.
In the week to 11 September 2022, total ship visits, and cargo and tanker visits increased by 2% and 5%, respectively, compared with the previous week. Our accompanying dataset: Weekly shipping indicators is available.Back to table of contents
Advanced notification of potential redundancies
Dataset | Released 15 September 2022
Weekly dataset showing the number of potential redundancies and employers proposing redundancies, submitted to Insolvency Service via HR1 forms.
Company incorporations, voluntary dissolutions and compulsory dissolutions
Dataset | Released 15 September 2022
Weekly dataset showing the number of Companies House incorporations and voluntary dissolutions accepted, and companies placed into compulsory dissolution.
Revolut spending on debit cards
Dataset | Released 15 September 2022
Insight into the spending patterns of UK consumers from financial technology company Revolut.
System Average Price (SAP) of gas
Dataset | Released 15 September 2022
Daily and rolling average System Average Price (SAP) of gas traded in the UK.
Transactions at Pret A Manger
Dataset | Released 15 September 2022
Weekly transactional data from approximately 400 Pret A Manger stores around the UK.
UK spending on credit and debit cards
Dataset | Released 15 September 2022
Experimental indicator for monitoring UK retail purchases derived from the Bank of England's CHAPS data.
Users should note that this section lists a selection of the data available with this publication. For the full list of available datasets please see the accompanying dataset page.Back to table of contents
A real-time indicator provides insights into economic activity using close-to-real-time big data, administrative data sources, rapid response surveys or Experimental Statistics, which represent useful economic and social concepts.
The diffusion index tracks the growth in turnover and expenditure of firms. It is constructed to lie between negative 1 and 1. For example, if 65% of firms have increasing turnover, 30% have decreasing turnover and 5% turnover remains unchanged, then the diffusion index is 0.35.Back to table of contents
Information on the methodology used to produce the indicators in this bulletin is available in the Economic activity and social change in the UK, real-time indicators methodology.Back to table of contents
These statistics have been produced to provide timely indicators of the effect of developing world events on the UK economy and society, using close-to-real-time big data, administrative data sources, rapid response surveys or Experimental Statistics.
The data presented in this bulletin are reviewed and refreshed on a regular basis. Indicators are swapped in and out of the publication based on their suitability and availability.
UK coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions
A full overview of coronavirus restrictions for each of the four UK constituent countries can be found:
These restrictions should be considered when interpreting the data featured throughout this bulletin.
Seasonal fluctuations are likely to be present in many of these indicators so caution must be applied when interpreting changes in series that are not seasonally adjusted.Back to table of contents
Office for National Statistics (ONS), published 15 September 2022, ONS website, statistical bulletin, Economic activity and social change in the UK, real-time indicators: 15 September 2022.
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