Irish consumers back spending with holiday sales up 40%
Visa report shows spending up on holidays, nights out and new cars helped by higher pay.
Many Irish consumers appear to be spending their way out of the winter blues by splashing out on leisure pursuits such as holidays – with some agents reporting sales up by 40 per cent – while spending on nights out shows an increase of almost 15 per cent compared with the same month last year.
A significant increase in package-holiday spending has seen Irish travel agents record “an unprecedented level of booking enquires” in January with some members of the Irish Travel Agents’ Association recording sales increases of up to 40 per cent compared with January 2014.
The latest spending index from Visa Europe also shows double-digit spending growth in hotels, restaurants and bars while spending on transport – largely fuelled by new car sales – was also up sharply compared with a year earlier.
The index is based on spending on all Visa debit, credit and prepaid cards which are used to make an average of 110 million transactions every quarter and account for €1 in €3 of all Irish consumer spending.
The latest index, published today, shows no slowdown in consumer expenditure in January with a year-on-year increase of 7.2 per cent recorded during the month across all payment methods.
This was faster than the 6.5 per cent seen in December and the second-sharpest expansion since the series began in September 2014. According to Visa the surge in consumer spending has been helped by higher wages and reduced unemployment.
Wages rose 2.7 per cent year-on-year in the third quarter of 2015, while the rate of unemployment at 8.6 per cent, the lowest since 2008.
The fastest increase was in recreation and culture which registered an expansion of 14.7 per cent. Increased consumer spending on leisure activities was highlighted by hotels, restaurants and bars seeing a 12.2 per cent bounce.
Transport and communications was boosted by 7.8 per cent growth. The Society of the Irish Motor Industry reported more than 39,800 new cars were sold in January – an increase of more than 33 per cent on the number of cars sold during the same month in 2015.