Wednesday 20 September 2017

Shoppers go online to buy shoes and clothes due to drop in value of sterling

New figures show overall spending was up 4pc in January, but there was another decline in buying in shops (Stock picture)
New figures show overall spending was up 4pc in January, but there was another decline in buying in shops (Stock picture)
Charlie Weston

Charlie Weston

BARGAIN-hunters are increasingly going online to buy from British websites to gain from the drop in the value of sterling.

They are most inclined to buy shoes and clothes from UK online retailers.

New figures show overall spending was up 4pc in January, but there was another decline in buying in shops.

Face-to-face shopping was down 0.7pc when compared with the same month last year, according to the Visa Irish Consumer Spending Index.

In contrast, online shopping was up 12.3pc in the year.

It was the sixth month in a row of double-digit growth in electronic commerce.

Last summer’s vote for Britain to leave the European Union has seen a slump in the value of sterling relative to the euro.

This has made goods priced in the British currency better value, prompting a wave of online spending here on UK sites.

Clothing and footwear are the most likely items to be bought online, the survey from Visa shows.

There was a decline of 1.9pc in spending on clothing and footwear in this country in the last year.

However, most sectors recorded a rise in spending in the year to January, in what is a positive indicator for the economy.

The sharpest increase in expenditure was in transport and communications, up 10.8pc in the year.

Rises in spending were recorded in hotels, restaurants and bars, with recreation and culture expenditure also up.

Food and drink spending increased, with expenditure in the household goods category up too, according to the index which records spending by cash, cheques and electronically.

Country manager, Ireland, for Visa Philip Konopik said the clothing and footwear sectors are being hit hardest as consumers shift their spending from face-to-face transactions to online sites.

This trend has been going on for a while, he added.

“With five months of decline over the past half year, it is reflective of the shift consumers have made to online shopping with UK retailers, benefitting from the weak sterling exchange rate.”

Mr Konopik said the challenge for Irish retailers will be to put measures in place over the coming months in order to differentiate their offers and encourage consumers back to the high street, as well as to their own websites.

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