Irish consumer spending increases +4.2% year-on-year in March
- Further contraction in Face-to-Face spending as overall expansion driven by online expenditure
- Transport & Communication and Recreation & Culture best-performing categories at end of Q1
- Clothing & Footwear and Hotels, Restaurants & Bars see ongoing declines
Dublin, 11 April 2017: The latest data from Visa's Irish Consumer Spending Index, which measures expenditure across all payment types (cash, cheques and electronic payments), saw a +4.2% year-on-year increase in expenditure. The latest reading pointed to a solid expansion, but still represented slower than the average growth since the series began in September 2014.
For the first quarter of 2017 as a whole spending was up +2.5% year-on-year, with the rate of expansion slowing for the third successive quarter.
Growth in eCommerce spending accelerated sharply to +18.1% year-on-year and was the strongest in four months. In contrast, face-to-face expenditure declined for the sixth successive month. The annual rate of contraction eased to -2.4%, but was still the third-largest decline in the 31-month series history.
Transport & Communication remained the strongest performer on a sectoral basis, seeing growth in spending quicken to a four-month high of +12.0% year-on-year. Four of the eight monitored sectors posted a return to growth in March following declines in February. A particularly strong rebound was seen in Recreation & Culture, where spending was up +7.5% on the year, the strongest rise since November last year. Food & Drink expenditure rose modestly on an annual basis in March (+1.4%). Spending growth has now been recorded in the sector in three of the past four months.
Two categories continued to record declines in expenditure, namely Clothing & Footwear and Hotels, Restaurants & Bars. The former posted the sharper reduction, seeing a fall in spending for the seventh time in the past eight months. Consumers spent less (-1.0%) in the Hotels, Restaurants & Bars category for the second month running, with the rate of decline only slightly slower than the Leap Day-affected reading from the previous month.
Philip Konopik, Country Manager, Ireland, Visa said:
“Irish consumer spending continues to rise, albeit at a reduced pace, with March recording the sixth month in a row where the rate of growth was less than five percent. While this is positive, there is cause for concern in two areas. Face-to-face spending has been in decline for the past six months and the Clothing & Footwear sector is particularly challenged. The ongoing bus strike has impacted regional businesses and it could hold face-to-face spending back.”
Andrew Harker, Senior Economist at IHS Markit said:
“As expected, consumer spending rebounded in March following the Leap Day-related fall in February, with the expansion broadly in line with those seen around the turn of the year. However, the first quarter as a whole saw the rate of growth ease from the end of 2016 as consumer confidence remained muted. There is still little sign of a recovery on the high street, with Face-to-Face spending now in a protracted downturn, and so eCommerce is having to drive growth at present.”
About Visa Inc.
Visa Inc. (NYSE:V) is a global payments technology company that connects consumers, businesses, financial institutions, and governments in more than 200 countries and territories to fast, secure and reliable electronic payments. We operate one of the world's most advanced processing networks — VisaNet — that is capable of handling more than 65,000 transaction messages a second, with fraud protection for consumers and assured payment for merchants. Visa is not a bank and does not issue cards, extend credit or set rates and fees for consumers. Visa's innovations, however, enable its financial institution customers to offer consumers more choices: pay now with debit, pay ahead with prepaid or pay later with credit products. For more information, visit our website (www.visaeurope.com), the Visa Vision blog (www.vision.visaeurope.com), and @VisaEuropeNews