Spending of Irish rugby fans in France soared in September

Cash left behind in Irish hotels, bars and restaurants was down significantly

Irish consumers’ spending in France spiked in September as the Irish rugby juggernaut was still picking up speed, while the cash left behind in Irish hotels, bars and restaurants was down significantly, according to a report published by AIB on Monday.

The bank’s Spend Trend for September 2023 suggests that spending by AIB customers in France increased by 51 per cent last month when compared with the same period last year as rugby fans answered Ireland’s call and flocked to stand shoulder to shoulder with the Irish team at the Rugby World Cup.

The month-on-month increase was 16 per cent.

While more rugby fans aged 25 to 34 made the journey to France, those aged 55 to 64 spent more money while they were there, accounting for 22 per cent of the overall spend in France compared to 16 per cent among their younger counterparts.


Closer to home hotel spending fell 17 per cent when compared with August, while pub spending was down 9 per cent, with people spending 5 per cent less in restaurants.

According to AIB the figures are in line with the same month last year.

In pubs and restaurant those aged 65 and over had the biggest decrease in spending, down 16 per cent and 12 per cent respectively. However, those under 25 bucked the trend and had an increase in spending in both sectors – the only age group to increase spending in those sectors in September.

Spending on electronics increased the most in the month, climbing by 12 per cent, with back to school and college spending driving the climb.

The highest spending day in Ireland was September 23rd, the day the Irish rugby team faced South Africa.

The monthly data was compiled from 70 million debit and credit card transactions in store and online during September 2023 and has been anonymised and aggregated.

“The summer holiday season may be over but there are other sectors experiencing increases in spend, with the biggest increase in electronics as students return to school and need new laptops, phones or other electronic devices,” said John Brennan of AIB.

“Spending in the hospitality sector is down as you would expect at this time of year. However younger people aged under 25 are still spending in pubs and restaurants and were the only age group to have an increase in spend in those sectors.”

He pointed to the Irish rugby fans in France spending money. “Support was strong for the rugby team at home too – all of the highest spending days for pubs coincided with Ireland matches, with the highest one being Ireland versus South Africa. These data insights are crucial in allowing us to continue to support both our business and personal customers in their choices.”

Conor Pope

Conor Pope

Conor Pope is Consumer Affairs Correspondent, Pricewatch Editor and cohost of the In the News podcast