Household spending fell to its weakest level since 2012 during the first quarter of the year, as poor weather and waning consumer confidence discouraged shoppers from spending money.

According to the UK Consumer Spending Index published today by Visa, spending fell by 1.4 percent year-on-year across the first three months of the year. This was the worst quarterly performance recorded in five years.

March was the hardest hit month, with overall consumer spending falling by 2.1 percent as a results of unseasonably winter weather and the ‘Beast from the East’.  face-to-face spending on the high street was down by 3 percent year-on-year.

Online spending also fell, dropping by 1.2 percent annually, recording the first month in ten that it has seen a decline.

Mark Antipof, chief commercial officer at Visa, said: “The negative impact that the Beast from the East had on UK economic activity last month has been widely reported, but this doesn’t entirely explain March’s lacklustre consumer spending.

“We are in the midst of a dip in consumer confidence and this – coupled with other economic factors – is causing shoppers to continue to restrain themselves.

“High street sales suffered once again, however it is also noteworthy that e-commerce spend fell for the first time in 10 months, and by its fastest rate since 2012.

“That said, it is too early to read a great deal into this year-on-year decline, which should be viewed in the context of high growth rates in early 2017.”