Consumer trends, UK: October to December 2021

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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Release date:
31 March 2022

Next release:
30 June 2022

1. Main points

  • Household spending growth (adjusted for inflation) increased by 0.5% in Quarter 4 (Oct to Dec) 2021 when compared with Quarter 3 (July to Sept) 2021.

  • Household spending increased by 8.1% in Quarter 4 2021 when compared with Quarter 4 2020.

  • Transport services made the largest positive contribution to growth in Quarter 4 2021 when compared with Quarter 3 2021, increasing by 3.2%.

  • Household spending decreased by 1.0% in Quarter 4 2021 when compared with Quarter 4 2019 (before the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic).

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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 our UK National Accounts, The Blue Book: 2021 compendium, released 29 October 2021. As such, data for all periods within this release are subject to revision in line with our National Accounts Revisions Policy: updated December 2021.

Blue Book is the UK's annual compendium of national accounts data and incorporates a number of improvements to methods and sources into the UK National Accounts. Details of improvements introduced in Blue Book 2021, which affect  household expenditure and revisions to the previous publication, can be found in our User guide to consumer trends, published 30 September 2021.

The reference year and last base year for all chained volume measure estimates is 2019.

Further information on latest developments and changes implemented in Blue Book 2021 can be found in the our Proposed changes to be implemented in Blue Book and Pink Book 2021 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)

  • purchasing second-hand goods

Explanations for these exceptions and the related concepts are available in our Consumer trends QMI, published 30 September 2019.


More quality and methodology information on strengths, limitations, appropriate uses, and how the data were created is available in our Consumer trends QMI.

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Impact of the coronavirus (COVID 19) pandemic

From Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2020, estimates of HHFCE, along with other components of gross domestic product (GDP), are subject to more uncertainty than usual because of the challenges we faced in collecting the data under government-imposed public health restrictions. In the case of HHFCE, these challenges have been made worse by the suspension of data collection for our International Passenger Survey (IPS) between March 2020 and January 2021 and the temporary suspension of our Living Costs and Food survey (LCF)

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Contact details for this Statistical bulletin

Katherine Kent
Telephone: +44 1633 455829