Retailers selling electrical goods were the out-and-out winners in recent months in terms of sales growth, while pubs and bars lost out.
CSO figures for the last three months of 2018 show that sales of products linked to the household captured a significant increase in spending by volume from a year earlier.
However, there was only a small increase in the sales in clothing stores, and pub and bar sales fell.
Sales of electrical goods surged over 22% in October to the end of December from a year earlier, and also rose strongly 9% when measured in value terms which takes into account the actual amount spent.
Furniture and lighting sales climbed over 12% in volume and rose 7% when measured in terms of the value of those sales.
Up by over 6%, chemist and pharmaceutical sales posted the next largest annual gain in the three months.
However, at an annual rate of 2% in value terms, the increase was less significant.
Bars were the only one of 13 types of retail business to post an annual decline in sales over the three months.
By volume, bar sales fell by over 3% in the three months from a year earlier and fell over 1% in terms of value.
Alan McQuaid, economist at Cantor Fitzgerald, said that the long-term trend of retail sales shows consumers were spending more, despite the uncertainty of Brexit, as the economy improves.
“Even with the fluctuation in consumer sentiment, overall personal spending has been positive in the past few years, boosted by the increase in the numbers employed in the country,” he said.
However, uncertainty may peg back the rate of growth but the growth in sales this year will nonetheless be healthy, he said.
For December alone, the CSO figures show that the volume of all retail sales, excluding motor sales, were up 0.7% from November and climbed by over 5% from December 2017.
Sales of hardware and food and beverages posted the largest increases from November, while sales at department stores fell sharply.
In terms of value, sales rose 0.3% in December from November and climbed 3.5% from December 2017.