April sees falls in retail and social spending

Kantar's latest figures compare last year's unprecedented summer weather with this year's`
Nationwide spending dips but spend rises in popular European countries

Overall April spending fell by 7% compared to the previous month, while grocery spending dipped by 8%



11 May 2023

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Bank of Ireland debit and credit card spending in April 2023 dropped by 7% when compared to March’s outlay as spending hikes recorded by the Bank of Ireland Spending Pulse in the first quarter of the year receded.

Overall, April’s spending data 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%. 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%).

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 amongst 18 – 25 years olds and 26 – 35-year-olds.

“Sharp rises in April spending in sunnier spots like Greece (+99%), Portugal (+72%) and Spain (+25%) would suggest that many people used the Easter break to get away from it all for a week or two,” said 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,” she added.



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