How Irish people spend their money during Covid-19

Retail spending in Ireland has been buoyed by online and grocery shopping, analysis of debit card transactions by Bank of Ireland reveals.

Irish consumers have been spending more on home fitness products, gaming and streaming services during Covid-19, according to the latest analysis of debit card transactions by Bank of Ireland.

The bank tracked debit card spend since 12 March and compared it with the average spend during the months and weeks prior to the Irish Government imposing strict social distancing rules in response to Covid-19.

“Shoppers are responding to the new normal, adapting behaviour and spend to their personal circumstances”

The analysis shows that retail spend during that period was buoyed by online activity and a 37pc increase in grocery shopping.

While overall debit card spend was down 25pc, retail spend has shifted online with significant increases in gaming, clothing, electronics, household appliances, home fitness products and streaming services.

Streaming services are up 27pc and since the well-timed Irish launch, Disney+ streaming spend has increased by over 500pc. There was an increase of 122pc in PlayStation spend, while Xbox increased by 86pc.

Reflecting the unprecedented changes in our lives, spend on air travel, passenger travel and accommodation has dropped more than 80pc. Restaurant spend is down 69pc as the recent trend towards a food delivery model continues.

Debit card spend March 12th – April 12th (compared to average spend January 1st – March 11th inclusive)

Up ↑ Down ↓
37% increase in grocery shopping Overall debit card spend down 25%
27% increase in spend on streaming services 82% drop in accommodation
122% increase in Playstation spend 69% drop in spend on restaurants
Xbox up 86% Spend on repair services down 41%

Spending trends during Covid-19

“Covid-19 has changed our lives immensely, impacting health, social interaction, travel and also affecting the livelihoods of many,” said John O’ Beirne, director of Products, Bank of Ireland.

“Our data, which tracks debit card spend in March once the schools closed, demonstrates the importance of card services in the current environment, with retail activity driven by online and grocery sales. Shoppers are responding to the new normal, adapting behaviour and spend to their personal circumstances.

“As we continue to travel less, we are looking for more ways to keep ourselves and our families engaged, and spending habits are clearly reflecting that trend. Home exercise and entertainment are being prioritised, while spend on travel and restaurants has dropped significantly in line with the required restrictions.

“The people and technology supporting payment services are the engine-room for retail sales and our colleagues are working 24/7 to keep cards, payments, online and a range of other services running.

“Our digital channels are extremely busy, with a significant proportion of those applying for a mortgage break doing it through our website. We will continue to ensure these critical services are resourced appropriately, providing stability for consumers and businesses to transact during this challenging time,” O’Beirne said.