Visa: Irish consumer spending “muted” in January

Irish consumer spending ended in growth for Q1 2019, according to Visa's latest spending report

The latest figures in Visa's Irish Consumer Spending Index have revealed that after a record-breaking Christmas season, spending in January was flat, with several segments showing a sharp decline - in some cases the sharpest since the index was established.



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19 February 2019

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Visa has published the latest edition of its Consumer Spending Index, which measures expenditure across all payment types and segments, which points to “muted” spending trends for the start of 2019. Although stabilising following the fall of -0.4% during December, spending in January was broadly unchanged, rising by just 0.1%. This represents one of the strongest economic performances since September 2014.

As it has been for many months – an area of great concern across the board – high street spending was the weak link for household spending in the index. Face-to-face spending was down for the third month running, and also (at -5.3%) the sharpest year-on-year fall since the index was established.

Within the specific areas of the Consumer Spending Index, there was some growth. The Household Goods sector rebounded by 8.4% year-on-year, while Hotels, Restaurants & Bars posted a solid increase of +4.4%  and Food & Drink and Recreation & Culture grew by 1.9% and 2.1% respectively.

Three sectors experienced falls in spending, namely Clothing & Footwear (-5.0%), Transport & Communication (-0.8%) and Miscellaneous Goods and Services (-5.2%). The fall in Clothing & Footwear expenditure extended the current sequence of decline to seven months. Could it be that the prevalence of online clothing retailers is contributing to this decline?

Philip Konopik, Ireland country manager, Visa said that the flat spending rates are reflective of consumer confidence in the economy. “Once again,” he said, “there was a notable contrast between the high street and eCommerce with online retailers recording almost double digit growth, while the high Ssreet saw the sharpest fall in expenditure since we started the Index.

“The Clothing & Footwear industry’s challenges in particular were highlighted,” he added, “after recording a seventh consecutive month where spending declined.”




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