Retail and social spending fell in Ireland in April

Overall April spending fell by 7% compared to the previous month, according to Bank of Ireland’s Spending Pulse which analyses debit and credit card spending.

Overall, April’s spending data from Bank of Ireland painted a relatively subdued picture across many business sectors, with Retail spending falling by 7% and social spending dropping by 5% – very similar to drops recorded in April 2022.

Despite Easter falling in April and the hint of a nice summer on the horizon following the wettest March on record, pub spending fell by 6% and outlay on fast food dropped by 5%.

“Consumers are still battling the inflationary impact on their shopping trollies, and grocery spending dipped by 8% in April”

Restaurant spending ticked up by just 1% (exact same as in April 2022), but there was better news for cinema operators (+47%), hotel owners (+11%) and those managing tourist attractions (+9%).

Teenagers continue to spend

Spending levels fell in all 26 counties, with Sligo consumers (-9%) proving to be April’s most frugal. Monthly outlay in Kilkenny, Mayo and Meath all declined by 8%, with Donegal, Dublin and Kerry all witnessing 7% spending drops. Roscommon recorded a decline of just 5% putting it ‘top of the class’ in a subdued county-by-county spending table.

Teenagers (13–17-year-olds) recorded the only April spending spike (+9%) when different age group spending was analysed, making sure they enjoyed their two-week break from the classroom. All other age categories saw spending levels fall, with a decline of 8% recorded Jilly Clarkin, head of Customer Journeys & SME Markets at Bank of Ireland.

“This was a spending trend that we also recorded in April 2022, so perhaps it wasn’t all that surprising that spending hikes experienced during the opening months of 2023 did not continue this April.”

“Consumers are still battling the inflationary impact on their shopping trollies, and grocery spending dipped by 8% in April. Time will tell if the latest Spending Pulse serves to indicate the beginning of a wider trend, or proves to be a temporary dip before spending levels soar upwards during the summer months.”

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