Spending drops as consumers reduce social and retail activity

Drop in debit and credit card spending signals consumers are either being prudent or saving for their holidays.

Bank of Ireland debit and credit card analysis for June revealed a 4% overall monthly fall in spending, with a drop in consumer outlay across sectors.

In contrast to the trend last month, total social spending fell by -5% in June as consumers scaled back their pub spend (-8%) compared to May, and also spent less money on fast food (-4%) and in restaurants (-3%).

“Cost of living increases are a concern for everyone, and in that context it is not surprising to see June’s spending levels dropping a bit on last month”

The overcast weather in June may have played a part in people spending more in cinemas (+25%), but that increase was an outlier – with consumer spending on clothing and groceries both falling by -6% month on month.

Cost of living concerns

Pubs                                         -8%
Groceries                                   -6%
Clothing                                     -6%
Electrical Goods                       -4%
Restaurants                               -3%
Rail travel                                   -2%

Source: Bank of Ireland debit and credit card transactions – June 2022 vs. May 2022

Spending in each of the 26 counties fell in June, with Donegal dropping the most (-8%). Kerry recorded a spending decline of -7%, the same as Roscommon, while negative trends continued in Limerick, Tipperary and Wicklow – which all recorded a spending drop of -6%. Further afield holiday-makers flocked back to popular European locations following a relative decline in May, with June spending jumps recorded in Italy (+48%), Portugal (+45%), Spain (+38%) and France (+32%).

One constant with May’s spending picture was that teenagers (13 -17) had a striking spending rise in June (+19%), but that’s where the similarities ended. Every other age grouping posted a drop in spending during the past month, with 18 -25 year olds recording a monthly fall of -12%, 26 -35 year olds down by -8% and the 56 – 65 year olds falling by -5%.

“Cost of living increases are a concern for everyone, and in that context it is not surprising to see June’s spending levels dropping a bit on last month,” said Jilly Clarkin, Head of Customer Journeys & SME Markets at Bank of Ireland.

“The spending data analysed by Bank of Ireland over the past few months has produced some uneven trends, so while total consumer outlay rose significantly in May, it then fell again in June. It’s probably too early to identify a clear trend, but some people may be getting more prudent with their money as they look ahead to the second half of the year. But we’re also entering peak holiday season, so some consumers could just be holding their spending until they get away.”

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