Consumer Spending Shows Strong Growth In December
Total household expenditure rose 6.6% in December 2015 compared with the previous year, according to the latest Visa Europe Ireland Consumer Spending Index. This means that consumer spending for the final quarter of 2015 rose 7.1% over its 2014 counterpart.
The index also shows that eCommerce recorded its strongest ever growth year-on-year, with online spending rising 16%. Visa Europe note that this came after Cyber Monday in November, which highlighted the popularity of ecommerce in Ireland. Several retailers took an omnichannel approach by having online sales while their stores were closed over Christmas.
Recreation and Culture saw growth of 10.7%, boosted by the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which set a new record for opening day ticket sales.
Two other sectors showed double-digit growth in spending over the year to December: Household Goods (10.8%) and Health and Education (10.7%).
Hotel, Restaurants & Bars also recorded strong growth at 7.6%, though that is lower than previous months.
There was also a slowdown in Clothing and Footwear, with spending rising by just 3.9% over the year to December. This is markedly lower than the 15.7% rise from November, and is the worst showing from the sector since October 2014. Visa Europe attributes this trend to the mild weather that reduced demand for winter clothing.
“The latest growth in December was an extremely positive milestone for the economy as there was a year-on-year rise in consumer spending every month during 2015,” said Conor Langford, Country Manager, Ireland, Visa Europe. “Overall it capped off a very positive twelve months as rising levels of consumer spending continued to contribute to economic growth.”
Andrew Harker, Senior Economist at Markit, commented, “Visa Europe’s Irish Consumer Spending Index suggests that the Christmas period was a successful one in terms of household expenditure.
“The recreation and hospitality areas fared particularly well as rising consumer confidence and improving wages led people to enjoy the Christmas festivities," he added.
“With GDP data backing up the findings of Visa Europe’s Irish Consumer Spending Index data for the third quarter of the year, the strong performance of the Visa data during Q4 bodes well for the official figures when they are released.”
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