Easing of restrictions in Phase 2 saw debit card spend on air travel up 139pc, accommodation up 101pc, restaurants and takeaways up 63pc, gambling up 57pc and retail spend up 56pc.

An analysis of Bank of Ireland debit card transactions over the first full week of Phase 2 easing of restrictions has revealed a spike in spending on air travel, passenger travel, accommodation, gambling and retail.

The analysis tracked debit card spending from 8 June to 14 June and compared it with the baseline average spend during the lockdown: from 28 March to 7 June.

“As the country emerges from lockdown, hopefully consumer spending continues its resurgence, supporting businesses to bounce back as quickly as possible”

While grocery shopping was down slightly by 2pc, spend on other areas of retail was up by 56pc.

With an increasing number of countries internationally opening up again for foreign visitors, spend on air travel was up by 139pc last week, albeit from a low level during lockdown.

In a similar trend, holiday planning was clearly a focus for consumers with debit card spend on booking accommodation up 101pc.

With more and more restaurants and cafes turning to takeaway and delivery services, spend by consumers was up 63pc, and the return of horseracing in Ireland dovetailed with a 57pc increase in spend on gambling.

Spend on passenger transport (trains, buses, taxis) was up 115pc, as increasing numbers of shoppers travelled to urban centres. Meanwhile, debit card spend on entertainment dropped by 11pc, with gaming down 21pc, perhaps a sign that people weren’t spending so much time in their homes as restrictions eased.

Ease the pressure

“The first week of the Phase 2 easing in restrictions has highlighted a number of interesting trends in debit card spend,” said John O’Beirne, director of Products, Bank of Ireland.

“While grocery spend was relatively flat last week following an extraordinary spike during lockdown, consumers are spending significantly more on retail. Holidays are clearly front-of-mind, and spend on air travel and accommodation increased significantly last week.

“A natural impact from the easing of restrictions is that we are leaving our homes more often, and this is clearly reflected in more of us spending on passenger transport services and spending less on entertainment such as streaming services. Driven by takeaway services, spend on restaurants also increased last week albeit compared to a low baseline during the lockdown, and hopefully this trend continues.

“Covid-19 has had a detrimental impact across health, society and the economy, impacting livelihoods and businesses across Ireland. As the country emerges from lockdown, hopefully consumer spending continues its resurgence, supporting businesses to bounce back as quickly as possible.”

Written by John Kennedy (john.kennedy3@boi.com)

Published: 18 June, 2020

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