Data insight: Here’s how coronavirus is already sharply impacting Starling‘s customer spending

By Oliver Smith on Thursday 19 March 2020

Digital Banking

Holiday spending is tumbling, while supermarket shopping has reached “Christmas” levels.

Data insight: Here’s how coronavirus is already sharply impacting Starling‘s customer spending
Image source: Starling Bank.

Given the huge changes happening around the world, consumer spending is in the midst of a dramatic shift.

Starling Bank shared some exclusive aggregated data with AltFi on how their account holders are spending differently during the week to Monday 16 March.

Unsurprisingly given the global travel chaos, spending on holidays dropped 13 per cent with the top merchants for holidays like Airbnb, British Airways,, easyJet and Ryanair seeing an 18 per cent decline in the average transaction value.

Transport as a category saw a 5 per cent decline in spend volume and a 13 per cent decline in spend value, with Transport for London hit sharply with a 10 per cent drop in customers spending and a 30 per cent fall in transaction value.

While you might expect categories like fast food and takeaways to spike, in fact Starling reported a 4 per cent fall for the category, and said it hadn’t seen a big uptick with merchants like Deliveroo and Just Eat.

One category that has spiked is grocery shopping. Here Starling reported grocery merchants receiving “spending levels were akin to those we typically observe at Christmas”.

Costco also became one of Starling’s most popular merchants for the first time.

As holidaymakers abroad race home, the levels of overseas spending are falling far below historic lows, especially in the most hit countries like Italy, France and Spain.

While this is just one data point from just one week, it paints a picture of how consumer spending is starting to change.

There’s a sharper focus on the fundamentals of food and groceries and, while Starling was unable to provide data, likely a large shift from contactless and Chip and PIN towards online card transactions.

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