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Irish eCommerce spending rises 7.8% as consumers become more comfortable with online shopping – Inaugural Visa Europe Irish Consumer Spending Index

12/05/2015

DUBLIN, 12 May 2015: Visa Europe’s Irish Consumer Spending Index for April showed that Irish eCommerce spending has increased by 7.8% on an annual basis, down on March’s +10.8% but a marked pace of expansion nonetheless.

Visa Europe’s Irish Consumer Spending Index is a monthly economic barometer which takes card spending data and adjusts it for a variety of factors to provide a robust indicator of total consumer expenditure across all payment methods. Unlike other economic barometers, Visa Europe’s Irish Consumer Spending Index also reveals the level of eCommerce expenditure in Ireland.

The latest increase in eCommerce spending is in line with Visa Europe’s cardholder data, which showed that eCommerce spending with Irish Visa cards – Debit, Credit and Prepaid – in the twelve month period ending 30th September 2014 rose to almost €5.6 billion. As a result, approximately 20% of spending with Visa cards is done online. This equates to Irish Visa cardholders spending €10,654 online every minute on an average day.

Irish household expenditure trends show the fourth year-on-year rise for 2015 with overall consumer spending (face-to-face and eCommerce) up +4.3% in April according to the April Visa Europe Irish Consumer Spending Index. There was a broad-based increase in spending during April, with seven out of the eight sectors covered recording some growth.

Retail-focused sectors performed strongly, led by Food, Beverages & Tobacco, a category which includes supermarkets. Growth in this sector was +9.2%. Spending in Household Goods (DIY stores) registered growth of +8.6%, while Clothing & Footwear saw an expansion of +6.4%.

The boost in consumer confidence has resulted increased spending on going out and recreation. April's data also showed firm growth in Hotels, Restaurants & Bars (+6.1%) and Recreation & Culture (+4.7%).

Transport & Communication (4.4%) and Health & Education (1.9%) also benefited from the upswing in the economy, with both categories showing positive growth. The only exception was Miscellaneous Goods & Services, where a marginal contraction (-0.6%) was registered.

Reflective of the broad-based recovery in recent spending, growth at face-to-face merchants also continued to increase at a healthy pace. Latest data from Visa Europe’s Irish Consumer Spending Index showed that spending rose at an annual rate of +2.8% in April, up from +2.1% in the previous month and extending the current period of growth to eight months.

Commenting on the report, Conor Langford, Ireland Country Manager, Visa Europe, said: “We are delighted to launch Visa Europe’s Irish Consumer Spending Index as it gives a real-time picture of underlying consumer spending patterns in the Irish economy. This monthly snapshot also captures how consumers are spending their money online. With €1 in €3 of consumer spending on a Visa card in Ireland, we are in a position to identify trends early on and it is a positive sign to see growing consumer confidence in the market.”

“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 & Drink and Household Goods in particular, with an upswing in consumer spending of 9.2% and 8.6% respectively.”

Paul Smith, Senior Economist, Markit, added: ““Visa Europe’s Irish Consumer Spending Index showed that consumer spending growth was sustained at a healthy rate in April, and indicating that the Irish economy remains firmly 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. 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.”