Retail sales grow in Dublin for eighth consecutive quarter

Data underlines post-pandemic economic recovery combined with soaring inflation rates

There has been growth in retail spending in Dublin for the eighth consecutive quarter, underlining the post-pandemic economic recovery combined with soaring inflation rates for consumer products, new data shows.

Retail spending grew by 5.8 per cent in the first quarter of 2023 compared with the same period last year, and by 1.6 per cent compared with the previous quarter, the latest MasterCard SpendingPulse, produced on behalf of the four Dublin local authorities, shows.

The 5.8 per cent yearly growth in retail spending was primarily driven by a 21.1 per cent increase in expenditure at hotels, bars and restaurants as hospitality’s recovery continued. Necessities expenditure also grew by 8.4 per cent.

At a national level spending grew by 6 per cent year-on-year. This was primarily driven by entertainment spending, which expanded at a rate of 47.9 per cent, surpassing pre-pandemic spending levels.


Necessity sales and discretionary sales recorded growth of 8.9 per cent and 6.4 per cent year-on-year respectively.

Growth in spending via eCommerce platforms slowed nationally, increasing at a rate of 5.2 per cent, having equalled or exceeded 8 per cent year-on-year in each quarter of 2022.

The quarterly expansion in spending was driven by increases in expenditure across all segments.

Spending on necessities grew rapidly (3 per cent) in what is likely a reflection of stubbornly high inflation rates for foodstuffs.

Lower growth rates in spending were recorded in the entertainment (2 per cent) and household goods (1.5 per cent) categories.

“This shows the ongoing willingness of consumers in Dublin to spend on the likes of hospitality and big-ticket household items, in spite of cost of living pressures,” said Dublin City Council.

Sales of discretionary items via department and clothing stores rose at a more modest rate of 0.5 per cent.

Expenditure via eCommerce was to the fore in the quarter, with growth of 3.9 per cent representing an acceleration of activity via online platforms. This follows a modest slowdown in expansion in this category in previous quarters.

Spending levels among tourists to Dublin grew by 7.3 per cent quarter-on-quarter, with spending by visitors from China expanding at the fastest rate of 18.2 per cent.

Spending from other key tourist markets of France, Germany and the UK grew at rates of 6-7 per cent quarter-on-quarter.

Expenditure by American tourists, however, recorded its second consecutive fall in the capital, declining 7.7 per cent quarter-on-quarter, despite a 10.2 per cent increase nationally.

Overall growth in tourism spending in Dublin exceeded the national level, where spending increased by 6.5 per cent quarter-on-quarter.

Mastercard global head of SpendingPulse Michael McNamara said: “Overall retail sales in Dublin as well as Ireland posted solid results in the first quarter. Entertainment spending showed significant increases as travel and tourism continued to recover.

“Both discretionary and necessities spending showed solid growth rates in the mid-single digits while household goods spending lagged somewhat in both Dublin as well as across Ireland.”

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson is an Irish Times reporter