The use of cards by British shoppers more than doubled between 2005 and 2014, according to the UK Cards Association. In 2014, they spent £566bn, more than the GDP of the entire Dutch economy.
According to the association which represents Britain's major bank card providers, card spending in pubs was about £5bn in 2014 as compared with £1bn in 2005. At bakers, this figure was about £28m in 2014, more than a nine-time increase from 2005.
Apart from pubs and bakers, restaurants too witnessed a strong shift to plastic. Every month on an average Britons made one billion transactions using cards in 2014 as compared to 500 million in 2005. Eight million more people had debit cards in 2014 than a decade ago.
However, the number of credit card holders has remained the same during this period. Debit cards accounted for more than 77% of 2014 card purchases as compared to about 67% in 2004.
The spending habits of Britons have also changed since the financial downturn.
- There were increased numbers of smaller transactions indicating that consumers shopped more frequently in search of bargains.
- Average card spends on food and drink in supermarkets declined from £32 in 2005 to £26 in 2014 as people made more frequent trips than one weekly trip.
Overall card spending at supermarkets doubled over the last decade to £99.5bn in 2014. More businesses were accepting cards in 2014 than in 2005 as they were looking for efficient alternatives to cheque payments.
Card purchases made via the internet increased by 230% in 2014 over the last decade. Record shops saw the biggest decline of 71% via card spending during this period.
The association added that card spending overtook cash spending in 2004 and accounted for more than three-quarters of all UK spending. Richard Koch, head of policy at the UK Cards Association said: "Today we think nothing of paying for a coffee and a sandwich with a contactless payment card or streaming films on a smartphone which is also enabled for mobile payments. This is so different to a decade ago."