Visa survey reveals increased spend on holidays and leisure

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14th March 2016 10:42 - Sport, Leisure and Tourism

According to Visa Europe’s Irish consumer spending index, there has been a 21 per cent increase in spend on culture and recreation, in comparison with February 2015. In the ‘culture and recreation’ category there was found to be a sharp rise in cinema ticket purchases, as well as a 18 per cent spike in spending on restaurants, bars and hotels.Visa survey reveals increased spend on holidays and leisure

Despite the year-on-year data including an extra day because of this year’s leap year, the total spending increase is still the largest in any month since Visa started tracking Ireland’s spend, 18 months ago.

The index is based on spending on all of its credit, debit and prepaid cards, which combined, are used to make around 36 million transactions per month.

Despite the growth rates increasing in speed since the last quarter of 2015, the monthly analysis – which was completed alongside economic index specialists, Markit – indicated an on-going increase in spends since the start of the index.

Andrew Harker, a Senior Economist at Markit, said of the research findings:

“Households in Ireland look to be taking advantage of improving labour market conditions and low inflation to spend on discretionary items. This all suggests that the first quarter of 2016 has seen the Irish economic recovery continue apace.”

In February 2016, household goods saw an 11.5 per cent increase – a slight rise on January’s hike – with transport and communication being up 11 per cent. Food, drinks and tobacco were up 9.1 per cent and health and education were up 8.4 per cent.

The bulk of the increases were attributed to online spending, up 15 per cent year-on-year. The index also saw a record 9 per cent hike in face-to-face expenditure. Last November, there was found to be a 7 per cent increase year-on-year.

Philip Konopik, Visa Europe’s Country Manager in Ireland, said of the results:

“The rise in spending was quite diverse with new car sales up 35% and items like flowers and jewellery proving popular during the month. It was particularly encouraging to see a record increase in high street spending in February as the economic recovery continues to take hold,”

He added: “A clear sign of growing confidence of the retail community was the expansion plans announced in recent weeks by a number of business including SuperValu, Maxol and Centra. A recent survey by the Irish Hotels Federation has also shown that 82% of hoteliers are seeing an increase in business levels compared to this time last year.”

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