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Modest rise in Irish consumer spending during April with +1.2% increase year-on-year

15/05/2019

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Dublin, 15 May 2019: Visa’s Irish Consumer Spending Index, produced by IHS Markit, which

measures expenditure across all payment types (cash, cheques and electronic payments), pointed to a second successive increase in spending during April. Expenditure was up +1.2% year-on-year, following a +2.7% increase in March. Although in positive territory for the second month running, the CSI pointed to a relatively modest pace of growth compared with the series history.

Face-to-Face expenditure growth was recorded for a second consecutive month in April (+1.6% year-on-year). eCommerce spending continued to rise, and at a faster pace than was seen on the high street. That said, at +2.2%, the rate of expansion was the slowest since January 2018.

The timing of the Easter holidays compared to last year have impacted on sector performance in recent months, as the data are not adjusted for seasonal factors. The sharpest increase was again in Household Goods, where expenditure was up +8.5% year-on-year.

Other sectors that performed well in April were Food & Beverages (+5.7%), which posted a rise for the first time in three months. This was helped in part by the good weather and the lack of a Good Friday alcohol ban for the second year in a row.

Increases in expenditure were also recorded in Hotels, Restaurants & Bars (+5.5%), Transport & Communication (+0.8%) and Health & Education (+0.2%.) On the other hand, falling spending was seen in Clothing & Footwear (-4.7%), Recreation & Culture (-0.4%) and Miscellaneous Goods & Services (-3.6%.)

Philip Konopik, Ireland Country Manager, Visa said:

“There was some seasonal cheer in April thanks to spells of good weather and Easter, which benefited a number of categories such as Household Goods and Food & Beverages. The overall level of growth, however, was modest and certain categories such as Clothing & Footwear remain challenged. There is little to suggest that the sluggish start to the year, which only saw a +0.8% year-on-year rise in consumer spending in the first quarter, is over and the current level of expansion is looking to be the weakest since we started the Index in late 2014.”

Andrew Harker, Associate Director at IHS Markit said:

“April saw Irish consumers back up a welcome return to growth in spending in March with a further modest increase. Growth was evenly spread between the high street and online sales. That said, the overall pace of expansion shows little sign of gaining momentum amid a lack of consumer confidence which is currently running at its lowest in around four-and-a-half years. Should this continue, the chances of a return to the rates of growth seen in recent years appear slim.”