Online consumer spending rises at 10 times rate of traditional spending

Sharp divergence between ecommerce and face-to-face spending, Visa index shows

Consumer spending as a whole in the Republic rose by 3.8 per cent year on year and for a 14th consecutive month, Visa’s index for April showed. Photograph: Tim Boyle/Getty Images

Consumer spending as a whole in the Republic rose by 3.8 per cent year on year and for a 14th consecutive month, Visa’s index for April showed. Photograph: Tim Boyle/Getty Images

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Online consumer spending or ecommerce is rising at 10 times the rate of traditional face-to-face spending, according to the Visa’s latest Irish consumer spending index.

The company’s index for April showed consumer spending as a whole rose by 3.8 per cent year on year and for a 14th consecutive month as the retail sector continued to benefit the growth in employment and wages.

This was an improvement on March’s Storm Emma-related slowdown, when spending growth fell to 1.5 per cent.

However, the report indicated a strong divergence between online spending and face-to-face spending with ecommerce registering a strong upturn in spend, rising by 10.7 per cent since April 2017, which was the strongest growth seen in this category for eight months.

Traditional face-to-face expenditure rose at a much slower rate, by just 0.3 per cent year on year, the slowest growth on this measure since a 2.2 per cent reduction seen last August.

The strongest-performing sector was hotels, restaurants and bars, where growth accelerated to a four-month high of 9.7 per cent.

“April’s return to growth in spending is much welcomed after the slowdown brought on by Storm Emma in March,” Philip Konopik, Visa Ireland country manager, said.

“That said, the rise in consumer spending was modest, with sectors like food and beverages impacted by Easter falling earlier in the month this year compared with the same period in 2017,” he said.

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