According to Visa Europe’s Irish Consumer Spending Index, consumer spending last month was up 4% when compared to May of last year. This is the ninth month in a row spending has increased. Although a little down on April’s growth of 4.3%, Visa Europe said such a level of spending “points to the ongoing recovery of consumer spending in Ireland in line with an increasingly positive economic backdrop”.
The index is a monthly economic barometer which takes card spending data and adjusts it for a variety of factors to provide an indicator of consumer expenditure in all payment methods.
Spending at retailers continues to rise, with Visa’s data for May showing the spend on food and drink (which includes supermarkets) rose sharply by 9.7% compared to 9.1% in April.
Another notable performer was household goods (8.4%), with consumers increasing their expenditure on a range of items such as furniture and electrical goods. The clothing and footwear sector recorded a year-on-year rate of expansion of 6.8%, up from 6.5% in the previous month and the best recorded since February.
Hotels, restaurants and bars recorded a record pace of growth of 8.6%, while there was a 4.3% increase in spending in the recreation and culture category.
Face-to-face based spending grew 3.1% last month — the second best recorded for the year so far, while e-commerce spending rose 6.2% compared to April’s rise of 7.8%.
Commenting on the results, Ireland country manager with Visa Europe Conor Langford said it was now clear consumers were starting to see the benefits of the economic recovery, with home makeovers helping to drive the increase.
“Despite the introduction of new regulations on residential mortgage lending, there is still a rise in loan approvals and there are reports of increased credit demand from furniture and home retail operators in the first quarter of the year.
“As a result, we are seeing more home makeovers as new owners kit out their property and existing homeowners are taking a more positive outlook by replacing old household items,” he said.
Senior economist at Markit Paul Smith said the figures seem to confirm the ongoing recovery of the economy. “Consumer spending growth continued to hum along nicely during May, maintaining the recent trend. Growth was broad-based and, indicative of the increasing confidence among households,” he said.
Meanwhile, Ireland’s largest wedding survey compiled by Mrs2Be.ie found, in 2014, couples spent an average of €19,635 on their wedding, not including honeymoon. Including the honeymoon, the average spend in 2014 was €23,895.