LONDON: Britons' spending on leisure activities is growing between five and seven times faster than that on groceries according to new research which suggests that they are using the savings on the latter to fund the former.

According to Barclaycard, the credit card provider, consumer spending in the UK has risen 3.3% during 2014, but certain categories have grown significantly faster, the Telegraph reported. Spending on restaurants has leapt ahead 14.6%, for example, while entertainment is up 11.3%.

In contrast, grocery spending, at 2.1% was one of the three weakest performing categories; only furniture and petrol retailing were worse.

Barclaycard said this reflected the fact that consumers were "squeezing the best value from their essential purchases", with discounters Aldi and Lidl continuing to take market share.

A recent survey by Marketing Sciences for the Guardian found that one in four people were more likely than last year to shop over Christmas at one of these two German supermarket chains, while one in ten planned to do their main Christmas food shop there.

"The real trend is promiscuity," observed Andrew Stevens, a retail analyst at Verdict, who said that shoppers were switching across all the brands.

Barclaycard also noted that UK households had adopted a "smaller, but more often" approach. Average spend per transaction was down 3.7% in 2014 but the overall number of transactions was up 7.4%.

"The value-seeking behaviour that we saw take hold in the tough economic times has become entrenched and we've seen consumers responsibly balancing the books by cutting back in one area to spend in another," said Val Soranno Keating, Barclaycard's chief executive.

"I suspect it's a behaviour we'll continue to see until meaningful wage growth," she added.

Data sourced from Daily Telegraph, Guardian; additional content by Warc staff