Stronger earnings and weak inflation drive Irish consumer spending

Latest survey suggests household goods remains best-performer


Increased earnings and subdued price inflation are continuing to drive Irish consumer spending, according to credit card giant Visa.

The group’s latest consumer spending index, produced in conjunction with IHS Markit, suggests household spending here rose 2.2 per cent year-on-year in August, a rate of expansion that was unchanged from the previous month.

Although the latest rate of expansion remains weaker than average (4.8 per cent ) since the series began in September 2014, growth remains steady and household expenditure has now risen on an annual basis throughout the last 18 months, Visa said.

Face-to-face and online sales record solid growth. While eCommerce recorded it weakest rate of growth since January (2.4 per cent ), face-to-face spending rose at a sharper rate 2.1 per cent than previously.

Household goods remained the best-performing sector in August, posting the fastest rate of expansion (9.4 per cent) across the eight categories. Recreation and culture and hotels, restaurants and bars also experienced accelerated growth of 5.6 per cent and 5.4 per cent respectively. CSO figures for August point to significant rises in restaurant and hotel costs, which was also a main driver behind the rate of expansion.

“While recent rises in Irish consumer spending remain weaker than average, it’s highly encouraging to see that household expenditure has now risen on an annual basis over the last year and a half,” Philip Konopik, Visa’s Irish country manager said.

“With the combination of a continued increase in earnings and subdued price inflation, consumers are benefiting from more disposable income to enjoy trips away and recreational activities as the summer comes to an end,” he said.