PaymentSense Examines UK Mobile Payments During the Coronavirus

March 31, 2020         By: Steven Anderson

Everyone’s response to the coronavirus has been different, and with good reason. Everyone approaches it from a different history, angle, and preconceived notion, so the execution of responses therein is understandably broad-ranging. It’s no different for those in the United Kingdom, as demonstrated by a report sent our way from Paymentsense. The report detailed just what’s going on in the payments space, as revealed by transaction data taken in the last several weeks.

The revelations from the Paymentsense report are both rational and unnerving, depending on which ones you look at. On the rational end, there was a big shift in how people ate. Cafe, brasserie and restaurant sales were down 21 percent, while grocery store sales were up 52 percent. On the unnerving end, however, was the absolutely massive jump in pet buying. Panic-buying small animals increased nearly 50 percent in the country, though home supply stores got a similar jump as customers looked to brace for the long haul at home.

In a strange twist, bike shops were seeing enhanced sales, and many were looking to get out their bikes in a bid to get some exercise, which is apparently still allowed under current rules from the Prime Minister’s office.

That wasn’t all the study found. Some reports suggested that the contactless limit in the UK was set to go from 35 pounds sterling to 40 pounds sterling in a bid to reduce the amount of cash being used in the system. Cash is seen as a potential vector for coronavirus, and some are looking at ways to reduce their contact therein.

Pets, bikes, grocery shopping. These all made major inroads over the last few weeks, and as long as coronavirus continues, these trends are likely to hold up as well. The enhanced grocery shopping spending is sure to last as long as lockdowns continue and take restaurants with them. The economic fallout from coronavirus is already incalculable and will likely continue to destroy businesses for the foreseeable future.

Watching spending data, meanwhile, shows that life does indeed go on, after a fashion. With some signs emerging that governments are looking to get life at least closer to normal than it’s been in the last couple of weeks, the spending data will likely once again shift to match these new developments. What will emerge in the next few weeks? Only time will tell.