Consumer spending rose by 9.7% in April

Increase in online shopping attributed to poor weather

Double-digit expansion in spending was recorded in the restaurants and bars sector

Double-digit expansion in spending was recorded in the restaurants and bars sector

 

Irish consumer spending rose by 9.7 per cent year-on-year during April, according to the latest data for Visa Europe’s Consumer Spending Index.

The figures, which are based on spending on all Visa debit, credit and prepaid cards, refer to all payment types - but online shopping was the primary factor behind the growth with an 18.7 per cent spike in expenditure.

The rise represented the sharpest increase in eCommerce spending recorded to date.

Retailers also benefited as the rate of growth in face-to-face spending grew to 5.7 per cent from 3.9 per cent in March.

The 9.7 per cent growth was the second-strongest since data were first calculated in September 2014.

The strongest rate of growth was in recreation and culture, which increased by 20.7 per cent.

During April, the Irish Travel Agents Association reported that its members have seen a 60 per cent increase in bookings in the first quarter of the year, with a survey of holiday makers revealing New York as the most popular city break destination this year.

Transport and communication also benefited from strong car sales, resulting in a 13.7 per cent year-on-year increase in spending. This was the strongest since data were first calculated in September 2014.

New car registrations were up 10 per cent, with an increase recorded in every county in the Republic during April.

Double-digit expansions in spending were also recorded in the health and education, household goods and hotels, and restaurants and bars sectors.

Clothing and footwear category posting the lowest level of growth at 1.8 per cent year-on-year - its poorest performance since October 2014.

Visa Europe’s country manager for Ireland Philip Konopik said the recent political instability had not adversely affected consumer spending.

“Despite the potential impact of uncertainty surrounding the negotiations of the formation of the next Government on consumer sentiment, there was no effect on Irish consumer spending,” he said.

“In fact, the rate of growth accelerated and the second strongest performance was recorded since we began the Consumer Spending Index.”

“Poor weather will have contributed to the eCommerce spike, and the strong increase in recreation and culture spend, particularly on cruises and travel to the United States, is a clear sign of increased optimism among households.

“This confidence can be seen right across the country with every county reporting a rise in new car registrations last month.”