Consumer spending now 10% higher than before pandemic

Big surge in spending as consumers begin to splurge after boosting savings during crisis

Overall consumer spending in August was 2 per cent ahead of where it was in July

Overall consumer spending in August was 2 per cent ahead of where it was in July

 

Consumer spending is now higher than it was before the coronavirus pandemic, according to Revolut, the digital payments group.

New figures from the company, which has 1.5 million Irish customers, shows spending surged last month, up 10 per cent versus the same month in 2019. The increase suggests that consumers are beginning to splurge after beefing up their savings during the Covid crisis.

Month on month, the figures indicate that overall consumer spending in August was 2 per cent ahead of where it was in July. Much of this increase appears to have been led by the further easing of travel and hospitality restrictions.

According to Revolut’s latest report, spending was higher across a range of categories including sportswear, clothing, groceries, fast food, hardware, gardening and home furnishing, which were all up by more than 20 per cent versus August 2019. Spending on airlines, meanwhile, surged 65 per cent versus the same month two years ago as more consumers booked holidays. Spending in airports and duty free shops was lower than before the pandemic suggesting vacations were being booked for a later date.

Biggest growth

The biggest growth in spending by Revolut customers came in digital categories. Spending on apps, for example, was up 439 per cent, while digital media spend jumped 252 per cent. Expenditure on games rose 135 per cent over the same period.

Spending on groceries was 32 per cent higher than it was in August 2019 with Irish people now consistently spending more at the supermarket than they used to.

Even in some hospitality sectors hardest hit by Covid restrictions, spending by Irish consumers is catching up to where it was two years ago, the Revolut report shows.

Spending on Revolut in bars and hotels was up 1 per cent and 2 per cent respectively. In both cases, the number of consumers spending was more than 20 per cent lower than in August 2019. This suggests that while fewer people are going out, they are spending more when they do.

Restaurants and cinemas have still not seen a recovery in spend levels however with the former down 25 per cent versus two years ago and the latter, 15 per cent lower.