Irish Christmas spending spree begins early

Irish festive spending starts early with spend on toys and games soaring by 58pc in October.

Christmas shopping has started early, with October spending on toys and gaming spiking by 58pc and outlay in family clothing stores rising by 8pc, according to Bank of Ireland’s card data.

While many parents stole a march on the pre-Christmas rush, overall October debit and credit card spending was down slightly (-3pc) compared with September, with consumers potentially tightening their belts ahead of the festive season.

“As more and more parts of the economy gradually scale back up, future spending patterns will be more focused on the impending festive season”

A major hike in cinema spending (+97pc) in October was notable, and suggests many people may have decided to kick back with a bucket of popcorn and put the spending hand-brake on. As many offices continue to reopen, there was a 30pc monthly rise on tailoring and clothes alterations.

Party season also kicks off early

There was a predictable boost for the entertainment and social sector as late-night bars and nightclubs swung back into action. Bank of Ireland’s Group Data team revealed significant spending increases in Dublin city centre nightclubs.

Analysis of popular haunts spread throughout Dublin 2 showed that people starved of late-night disco action dusted off their dancing shoes, with some venues recording spend increases of over 200pc.

Overall social spending slowed in October, only rising by 2pc, with monthly restaurant spend increased by just 1pc, so the re-opening of the late-night industry was timely.

Foreign travel spending saw peaks and troughs in October, with airline outlay rising by 8pc but card spending spikes taking place in locations that may surprise many. An interesting spending trend emerged as Scandi-type destinations like Norway (+13pc), Finland (+13pc), Iceland (+11pc) and Denmark (+8pc) all saw spending levels rise, while perennially popular holiday destinations like Greece (-40pc), Italy (-18pc) and Portugal (-14pc) all witnessed spending drops when compared to the previous month. 

Monthly spending levels declined slightly across all 26 counties. Kildare (-4pc), Kerry (-4pc), Clare (-4pc), Kilkenny (-4pc) and Mayo (-3pc) all suffered dips, with no county recording a spending rise in October.

“Christmas shopping has started early for some, with consumers out early for toys, gaming and clothes, perhaps driven by commentary on supply chain issues,” said John O’Beirne, director of Business Banking at Bank of Ireland.

“While bars and nightclubs saw predictable spikes in spending, overall social spending was relatively flat, so many appear to be slowing down their spending slightly in advance of the festive period. Spending on caterers rose by 19pc in October, as many households kept their socialising in-house.” 

“As more and more parts of the economy gradually scale back up, future spending patterns will be more focused on the impending festive season. Consumer spending in retail outlets will be worth analysing, as outlets manage supply chain issues and ensure their shelves are well stocked in the run up to the busy holiday period.”

“While bars and nightclubs saw predictable spikes in spending, overall social spending was relatively flat, so many appear to be slowing down their spending slightly in advance of the festive period. Spending on caterers rose by 19pc in October, as many households kept their socialising in-house.” 

“As more and more parts of the economy gradually scale back up, future spending patterns will be more focussed on the impending festive season. Consumer spending in retail outlets will be worth analysing, as outlets manage supply chain issues and ensure their shelves are well stocked in the run up to the busy holiday period,” O’Beirne observed.

Bank of Ireland debit card and credit card transactions – October 2021 versus September 2021

 

Up
Cinemas                                  +97pc
Amusement Parks              +74pc
Toy & Game Shops              +58pc
Caterers                                   +19pc
Clothing                                   +5pc
Down
Accommodation                   -10pc
Car Rentals                             -10pc
Charity                                      -16pc
Office equipment                 -20pc
Education                                 -68pc

 

John Kennedy
Award-winning ThinkBusiness.ie editor John Kennedy is one of Ireland's most experienced business and technology journalists.

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