Consumer trends, UK: October to December 2020

Household final consumption expenditure (HHFCE) for the UK, as a measure of economic growth. Includes all spending on goods and services by members of UK households.

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Contact:
Email Katherine Kent

Release date:
31 March 2021

Next release:
30 June 2021

1. Main points

  • In Quarter 4 (Oct to Dec) 2020, household spending (adjusted for inflation) growth was negative 1.7% compared with Quarter 3 (July to Sept) 2020. When compared with Quarter 4 2019, household spending decreased by negative 9.2%.

  • When compared with Quarter 3 2020, the largest positive contribution to growth was from recreation and culture which grew by positive 2.1%. When compared with Quarter 4 2019, spending in recreation and culture decreased by negative 3.3%.

  • When compared with Quarter 3 2020, the largest negative contribution to growth was from restaurants and hotels which decreased by negative 18.5%. When compared with Quarter 4 2019, spending on restaurants and hotels decreased by negative 42.2%.

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3. Measuring the data

The quarterly consumer trends data are typically published around 90 days after the end of the quarter. 

This release contains data that are consistent with the UK National Accounts, the Blue Book: 2020, released on 30 October 2020. As such, data for all periods within this release are subject to revision in line with the National Accounts Revisions Policy.

The Blue Book is the UK's annual compendium of national accounts data and incorporates several improvements to methods and sources into the UK's National Accounts.

The reference year and last base year for all chained volume measure estimates is now 2018.

Further information on latest developments and changes implemented in the Blue Book 2020 can be found in the relevant article.

Household final consumption expenditure (HHFCE) includes spending on goods and services except for buying or extending a house, investment in valuables (for example, paintings and antiques) or purchasing second-hand goods. Explanations for these exceptions and the related concepts are available in the consumer trends guidance and methodology.

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Impact of the coronavirus (COVID 19)

From Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2020, estimates of Household final consumption expenditure (HHFCE), along with other components of gross domestic product (GDP), were subject to more uncertainty than usual as a result of the challenges we faced in collecting the data under government imposed public health restrictions. In the case of HHFCE, these challenges have been compounded by the suspension of data collection for the International Passenger Survey (IPS) on 16 March 2020 and the temporary suspension of the Living Costs and Food survey (LCF) between March 16 and April 14 2020.

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Contact details for this Statistical bulletin

Katherine Kent
consumer.trends@ons.gov.uk
Telephone: +44 (0)1633 455829