Consumer spending is up 4.3% in the last year with online sales growing three times faster than in-store purchases. Sales of food, drink and cigarettes saw particularly strong growth in April and are 9.2% higher than a year earlier.
Spending on household goods rose by 8.6%, clothes and footwear purchases were up 6.4%, and consumers spent 6.1% more in hotels, restaurants and bars than they did a year ago. Spending on health, education, transport and communication also rose, but miscellaneous goods and services saw a slight dip.
Online spending was up 7.8% since last year while face-to-face purchases rose by a more modest 2.8%.
The report is based on Visa Europe's giant database of consumer purchases using Visa debit or credit cards, but adjusted to also take account of cash purchases. It covers all the main areas of consumer spending including food, utilities, travel, clothing and household goods but does not cover rents, mortgages or savings.