Dublin, 9 May 2017: According to Visa's Irish Consumer Spending Index, which measures expenditure across all payment types (cash, cheques and electronic payments), household spending continued to increase on an annual basis during April. Expenditure was up +0.7% year-on-year, as spending trends in April were impacted by the changing timing of the Easter weekend, which fell in March during 2016. Taking March and April together as a whole, expenditure was up +2.4% in 2017 compared with a year earlier.
Overall spending growth continued to be driven by eCommerce, where shopping was up +3.6% year-on-year in April. Face-to-Face expenditure, meanwhile, saw spending decrease for the seventh successive month in April, at -0.7%. However, the annual decline was the smallest in the year-to-date.
The Easter effect impacted in different ways across various sectors, with some boosted but others registering spending declines. Hotels, Restaurants & Bars posted the fastest rise in spending on an annual basis in April, showing an increase of +9.4%, with expenditure up for the first time in three months. Solid increases in spending were also seen in the Food & Drink and Household Goods categories, at +6.3% and +5.2% respectively.
Growth was also seen in Clothing & Footwear (up 1.5%), ending a three-month sequence of contraction. Although slight growth (an increase of 0.2%) was seen in December 2016, overall this category has seen a consistent decline in spend since August 2016.
Year-on-year reductions in expenditure were registered in the remaining four sectors, with marked declines seen in the Health & Education (-5.0%) and Miscellaneous Goods & Services categories (-4.3%). Whereas modest falls were recorded in Transport & Communication and Recreation & Culture, at -1.7% and -0.4%.
Philip Konopik, Country Manager, Ireland, Visa said:
“While the Visa Consumer Spending Index only recorded modest growth in April, the impact of Easter weekend having taken place in March last year has to be recognised as a factor for this. One of the main positives to be drawn from the data is an increase in spending in the Clothing & Footwear sector. While this might not represent a return to growth for the sector as yet, it comes as welcome news for a sector which has been declining since August last year.”
Andrew Harker, Senior Economist at IHS Markit said:
“While the shifting timing of Easter is to some extent responsible for the slowdown in spending growth during April, the latest CSI figures are consistent with the recent trend of relatively moderate rises in spending seen through much of the year-to-date. While the unemployment rate continues to fall, subdued consumer confidence and a pick-up in inflation are potentially limiting households’ willingness to spend.”