Young adults booking hotels while over-55s buying flights, Revolut data shows

Difference in vaccination rates among the generations driving tourism expenditure

Spending on flights almost tripled in May compared with April, among Ireland’s 1.3 million customers of digital payments platform Revolut.

The company’s monthly breakdown of its customers’ buying habits shows the trend was most apparent in those aged over 55, suggesting that older vaccinated cohorts are preparing to resume international travel. But while spending on airfares in May spiked, it is still less than half of what it was in February 2020, prior to the arrival of the pandemic.

Revolut’s data suggests that a 91 per cent month-on-month spike in spending on hotels is being driven more by a younger cohort, whose expenditure on accommodation was well ahead of average.

Takeaway pints

“Younger age groups who will not be vaccinated for some time are spending on domestic tourism instead” of planning to travel abroad, Revolut said.


A 57 per cent monthly increase in bar spending in May compared to April is being driven by younger people buying takeaway pints, as the increase in this category is almost three times as high among 18- to 24-year-olds as among people aged 35 and over.

The increase in spending in restaurants, many of which have been open for takeaway service right through lockdown, was more modest, up 30 per cent among 18- to 24-year-olds and between 11 per cent and 19 per cent among older cohorts.

As the retail sector reopened fully from mid-May, spending accelerated in this part of the economy. For example, overall spending in clothes shops was up 51 per cent compared with April while sports stores were up by about a third.

The retail spending of Revolut customers in May was also about a third higher than it was in February 2020, immediately before the pandemic hit. More than half of all retail spending still took place online, however.

Mark Paul

Mark Paul

Mark Paul is London Correspondent for The Irish Times