Household spending in Ireland continued to decline in the closing months of 2016, with face-to-face shopping falling as shoppers sought bargains online in the UK, according to data from Visa.
The latest data from Visa’s Irish Consumer Spending Index – which measures spend across all payment types such as cash, cheques and electronic payments – showed that spending was up 3.9pc in December over November.
This was the slowest rise since September 2014, during what should traditionally have been a bumper shopping season.
‘The large shift to online shopping in the run-up to Christmas continued in December, with consumers seeking to take advantage of the value on offer from UK online retailers due to the sterling exchange rate’
– PHILIP KONOPIK
Spending was up by 4pc year-on-year in the final quarter of the year as a whole, the slowest rise since the final three months of 2014.
The sterling exchange rate is continuing to entice shoppers to purchase from UK online retailers.
Face-to-face shopping continues to decline
E-commerce expenditure continued to increase at a substantial pace (up 15.4pc year-on-year), despite easing slightly from November’s record.
Meanwhile, face-to-face spending decreased for the third successive month, but the 0.3pc year-on-year decline was only marginal and better than the November performance.
If anything, the figures show the urgency with which Irish retailers need to move online and entice shoppers to spend at home.
“The large shift to online shopping in the run-up to Christmas continued in December, with consumers seeking to take advantage of the value on offer from UK online retailers due to the sterling exchange rate,” said Philip Konopik, country manager for Ireland at Visa.
“Despite this, there are a number of positives to be drawn from the data, with a range of sectors such as hotels, restaurants, bars and grocery retailers clearly benefiting from the festive period.
“The last quarter has seen the growth in overall consumer spending slip below 5pc each month however, and it will be interesting to observe whether this trend continues into the first quarter of 2017.”