Consumer spending: Eventful March leads to large increase
The latest Visa Europe Irish Consumer Spending Index has been published. Despite a drop in sales from last month, growth is continuing in all spending sectors.
12 April 2016 | 0
Visa Europe’s Consumer Spending Index, the monthly report that analyses spending (credit, debit and prepaid cards) across all sectors, shows a continuing solid growth in Irish spending for the first quarter. Year-on-year, spending was up by 5.6% across all payment types in March. Despite this being a reduction on the 11.3% increase seen in February, the results still follow the trend of spending increases for each month of the Index since it commenced in September 2014.
According to Visa Europe, a number of elements in March contributed to this overall spending increase. The rate of growth in eCommerce continued to outpace that of traditional sales, showing bumps of 9.5% and 3.8% respectively. This is in part due to long stretches of poor weather, leading consumers to shop from home. Meanwhile, the strongest expansion was once again seen in the Recreation & Culture sector, which is up by 14.4%. This is due to school Easter holidays being longer than normal. Strong sales were further added to by the celebrations surrounding the 1916 Rising Centenary, which saw enormous crowds in and around Dublin City Centre.
Conversely, however, the Hotels, Bar & Restaurant sector saw its weakest rise of 2016.
Andrew Harker, senior economist at Harker said the March Index said the reduction in sales from February to March should be considered within the impact of the Leap Year day and traditional Valentine’s Day spending. “The rate of expansion in March is actually in line with the trend across the 19 months of the series,” he said, “and so can be judged as a further solid outcome.
“Looking at the first quarter as a whole,” he added, “Visa Europe’s Irish Consumer Spending Index suggests that we can expect to see further growth of GDP and official consumer spending when this data is released later in the year.