Consumer spending declined 0.1% year-on-year in October, as further restrictions were introduced and autumnal weather encouraged Brits to stay at home and turn to online shopping, according to a report by Barclaycard.
However, purchases from food and drink specialist stores such as butchers and greengrocers soared by 50.7%, as many (48%) turned to supporting local businesses.
Spending on essential items grew 4.2%, bolstered by continued growth in supermarket spend as the category saw an online uplift of 94.4%.
This comes as a third (33%) of Brits say they are stockpiling essentials.
Clothing sales fell 2.7% overall, though a 20.6% growth was seen in online clothing as the nation chose to shop from home instead of on the high street.
Binge watching boxsets on darker evenings helped push digital content and subscriptions to its highest uplift since July (32.3%).
However, household confidence dropped to 67% – a level not seen since May (also 67%) and down from 70% last month.
Barclaycard head of consumer products Raheel Ahmed said: “As Brits once again adjust to tighter restrictions, it’s no surprise the digital habits adopted earlier this year are enduring. As we enter another period of lockdown in England and further restrictions across the UK, this stay-at-home mentality is likely to persist, as is the popularity of takeaways and digital subscriptions – helped along by the colder weather and darker evenings.
As the country prepares for a winter under potentially tighter restrictions, and we turn to online for our Christmas shopping, the resilience of bricks-and-mortar retailers will be tested as we wait to see what the rest of the year brings.”