According to Visa Europe’s Irish Consumer Spending Index, consumer spending last month was up 4.3% compared to the same month in 2014.
There was a broad-based increase in spending during April, with seven out of the eight sectors covered recording some growth.
The food and drink sector showed a particularly strong increase — up 9.2% on the same period last year — while spending on household goods in DIY stores experienced a bounce of 8.6%.
Clothing and footwear saw an increase of 6.4%, while spending in hotels, restaurants, and bars was up 6.1% and up 4.7% in recreation and culture.
The study also found that Irish consumers are becoming increasingly comfortable with online shopping, as spending at online and mail-order merchants increased at an annual pace of 7.8% during April, down on the 10.8% recorded in March.
Spending on transport and communication (4.4%) and health and education also benefited from the upswing in the economy, with both categories showing positive growth. The only exception was miscellaneous goods and services, where a marginal reduction in spending of 0.6% was recorded.
Ireland country manager with Visa Europe, Conor Langford, said:
”April’s report highlights that Irish consumer spending continues to recover, which is an extremely positive sign for the Irish retail sector, one of the biggest employers in Ireland. There is growth in almost every category, with strong performances in food and drink and household goods in particular, with an upswing in consumer spending of 9.2% and 8.6% respectively.”
Senior economist with Markit, Paul Smith, said the Irish economy remains on course “to be the strongest growing economy in the eurozone for 2015”.
“Moreover, due to the unique nature of the dataset, we are able to ascertain that the upswing in growth is broad-based, with spending rising across a wide-variety of categories during April,” said Mr Smith.
“This offers some comfort that the recovery has legs and can be sustained, although there is some concern that heavy discounting continues to play a prominent role in driving growth as the economy continues to recover the substantial ground lost since the advent of the financial crisis.”