Business Irish

Friday 24 May 2019

Spending accelerates in September as consumers return to the high street

(Stock image)
(Stock image)
Ellie Donnelly

Ellie Donnelly

September saw the fastest acceleration in consumer spending in six months, according to the latest Visa Ireland Consumer Spending Index.

Household expenditure was up 3.1pc year-on-year last month, a faster rise than in August, and the sharpest overall rise since March.

Taking the three months to September as a whole, spending rose 2.6pc compared to the same period last year.

The main news from the index, which measures expenditure across all payment types, was that for the first time in a year, consumers returned to the high street, with face-to-face spending recording growth of 1.8pc year-on-year.

While the pace of the increase was modest, it nonetheless represented a significant turnaround for the Irish retail sector, following a 2.2pc fall in expenditure in August, and a consistent decrease for the past eleven months.

The growth in face-to-face spending for September still lagged behind growth in eCommerce spending however, with eCommerce recording growth of 5.4pc year-on-year.

A factor for the upsurge in face-to-face spending could be attributed to the recent recovery in clothing and footwear spend which continued in September, with spending up 5.8pc year-on-year.

"This month’s Irish Consumer Spending Index paints a positive picture for the Irish retail sector, which enjoyed its best quarter this year.

eCommerce continued to drive the growth in spending, however face-to-cace spending also played its part, demonstrating its first increase in twelve months," Philip Konopik, country manager with Visa Ireland, said.

As was the case in August, the household goods sector posted the strongest expansion of the eight monitored categories in September, increasing by 10.8pc.

A sharp rise in expenditure was also recorded in hotels, restaurants and bars, which expanded by 8pc in September.

The recreation and culture sector was also a strong performer, with an increase of 5.3pc for the month.

And, having fallen fractionally in August, spending increased by 3.8pc in the food and drink sector in September. Growth has now been recorded in this sector in six of the past seven months, with the latest rise the fastest since April.

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