September spending slides as consumers tighten their belts

Total September spending dropped by 8% compared to August, while supermarket spend was down by 10%



19 October 2022

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Bank of Ireland debit and credit card spending in September painted a relatively gloomy picture when compared to the recent summer months, as consumers tightened their belts considerably.

The total monthly spend fell 8% on August’s total, with summer holidays, trips to the beach and hotel stays all consigned to recent history. The latest spending trend was in keeping with the same month in 2021 however, when September’s outlay fell by 6% overall.

Social spending fell back quite significantly in September, with the data revealing an overall 16% monthly decline. Pub spending was down by 28%, outlay in restaurants dropped by 22%, and people ordered less from fast food outlets – which posted a spending decline of 18%.  As children returned to school and their parents made their way back to the office, September spending on hotels and resorts declined by 26%.

The retail sector also witnessed spending falls in September, with very few areas spared. Spending on men’s and women’s clothing dropped by 12%, supermarket outlay fell by 10%, while florists (-9%) and beauty spas (-7%) both witnessed monthly spending declines. More surprisingly given the enduring popularity of baked goods and sweet treats, spending in bakeries spending fell by 19% in September.

Not one county posted a positive spending score in September, with near double-digit drops recorded in Dublin (-9%), Sligo (-9%), Cork (-8%), Mayo (-8%) and Limerick (-8%). Spending in both Cavan and Louth fell by just 6% during the period, giving these counties the dubious honour of recording the shallowest spending falls. Not surprisingly given the month that was in it spending in popular European destinations dropped, with outlay decreasing in Greece (-24%), Portugal (-22%), France (-19%) and Spain (-19%), while total airline spending fell by 8%.

“August is usually a month where workers shut down their laptops, children pack for an adventure and holiday season kicks into overdrive,” said Jilly Clarkin, head of Customer Journeys & SME Markets at Bank of Ireland. “Therefore, it won’t come as much of a surprise for many people to see the September spending stats indicating that consumers nationwide pulled back a little last month and saved up for what could well be a harsh winter.

“The belt tightening is evident across all sections of society,” she added, “from teenagers (13 – 17) who posted a 23% spending drop, to young professionals in the 26 – 35 age bracket whose spending fell by 10% in September, all the way up to the over 65s whose outlay was 4% lower than in the previous month. With consumers currently enduring cost of living challenges exacerbated by rising energy prices and stubborn inflation hikes, it will be interesting to see if these more restrained spending patterns continue over the coming months.”

BoI debit and credit card transactions – September 2022 vs. August 2022:

Car rentals                                -38%
Tourist attractions                   -31%
Hotels/Resorts                         -26%
Restaurants                               -22%
Newsagents                              -20%
Service stations                        -9%





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