Mastercard SpendingPulse: Meaningful experiences top Europe’s summer spending for another year

October 4, 2023 | WATERLOO, BELGIUM
Consumers chose to prioritise experiences, boosting retail sales year-on-year  


According to Mastercard SpendingPulse™, which measures in-store and online retail sales across all forms of payment including cash and check, consumers across the nine markets in Europe* continued to focus their summer spending on getting back out, enjoying experiences and socialising. Spending on ‘meaningful’ activities led to a rise in retail sales +9.8% YoY in the nine markets measured from 1st July to 31st August 2023.  

The insights reveal a rise in spending within the hospitality sector** across Europe during the summer period. This was driven by consumers pursuing moments of value such as dining out, taking breaks and attending events. In addition, in-store retail sales rose in a number of countries as consumers treated themselves to new summer outfits. 

Across Europe, key seasonal trends from July to August 2023 included: 

  • Spend on dining out was up: As many Europeans took time off for summer to catch up with family and friends, eating out continued to show momentum with restaurant spend up +17.8% in Poland, +12.5% YoY in France, +11.1% YoY in Czech Republic, +8.9% YoY in Italy and +8.8% YoY in Spain. 

  • Enjoying time away: Spend on hotels and holiday accommodation showed growth* in the likes of Hungary (+26.4% YoY), Spain (+9.4%), the Czech Republic (+7.8% YoY) and the UK (5.5% YoY), while showing a more moderate growth in Italy (+3.7% YoY).  

  • Online vs in-store:  While total retail sales were boosted by rising e-commerce in countries such as the Poland (+15.5% YoY) and Czech Republic (+4.4% YoY), brick-and-mortar sales saw an uplift in Hungary (+12.3% YoY) and the UK (+4.8% YoY). 

  • Tourism-related sectors showed robust growth around major local events: During the Hungarian Grand Prix, spend on hospitality and restaurants increased by +27.4% and +31.3%, respectively compared to last year’s event. Similarly, spend on hotels and restaurants soared during the Bank holiday weekend in the UK on August 26th-28th, up +7.1% and +5.0% respectively. 

  • Spend on essentials still a key consideration: Groceries remained a key driver for retail sales across Europe (+14.6% YoY) with consumers continuing to spend on essentials, albeit influenced by inflation. This summer, the UK led the pack with +13.1% YoY increase, followed by Hungary (+12.7% YoY), and Spain (+9.6% YoY). 

Natalia Lechmanova, Senior Economist, Mastercard Economics Institute says:
“Our latest SpendingPulse insights show that European consumers used their summer to enjoy meaningful experiences. This included catching-up with loved ones and exploring new locations as shown by increased spending in the hospitality sector across multiple locales. Despite inflationary pressures continuing to affect multiple markets the stats show that consumer spending continues to show resilience and growth.”


*Mastercard SpendingPulse was expanded to include nine European markets in June 2022. These are: the UK, France, Spain, Germany, Italy, Hungary, Czech Republic, the Netherlands and Poland. Mastercard SpendingPulse reflects nominal spending and is not adjusted for inflation.   

**Sales activity within the hospitality sector (such as Airlines and Lodging) are measured by SpendingPulse but not included in the total retail sales figure. 

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About Mastercard SpendingPulse   

Mastercard SpendingPulse™ reports on national retail sales across all payment types in select markets around the world. The findings are based on aggregate sales activity in the Mastercard payments network, coupled with survey-based estimates for certain other payment forms, such as cash and cheque. As such, SpendingPulse™ insights do not in any way contain, reflect or relate to actual Mastercard operational or financial performance, or specific payment-card-issuer data.   

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