The latest data from Visa's Irish Consumer Spending Index shows a -0.7% year-on-year fall in consumer spending, compared with a +3.9% rise in January.
The primary factor for the decline was the additional trading day (Leap Day) in February 2016.
It is estimated that without the Leap Day expenditure would have risen in February 2017 by approximately +3.0% year-on-year.
This would have still represented a reduction in growth and would have been one of the weakest rises since the series began in September 2014.
Online shopping continues to be much stronger than face-to-face spending, with eCommerce tracking +7.6% year-on-year this month, and face-to-face declining at -5.0% year-on-year.
Transport & Communications and Household Goods saw the strongest spending trends this month, with spending across the Transport & Communication category (which includes airlines, car dealerships and vehicle hire) rising by +5.0% year-on year and Household Goods recording annual growth of +2.4%.
Transport & Communication has now recorded the sharpest expansion of the eight monitored sectors for four successive months.
Philip Konopik, Country Manager, Ireland, Visa said: “February marks the fifth month in a row where the increase in consumer spending has registered at less than +5.0%, underlining the trend that growth is slowing amid a cautious outlook by Irish consumers.
"The other shift that is still clearly evident is the continued rise in popularity of eCommerce and it is positive to note the recent figures from the European Commission's Digital Economy and Society Index which show that Irish SMEs rank first out of 28 countries in Europe for small firms selling online.”