• Christmas shopping starts early with spend on toys, gaming and clothes rising

    Re-Opening of Late-Night Economy Provides Timely Boost to Social Sector

    • Spending on toys and games soars by 58% in October
    • BoI analysis reveals spending surge in central Dublin nightclubs
    • Spending for the month down slightly when compared with September

    Christmas shopping has started early, with October spending on toys and gaming spiking by 58% and outlay in family clothing stores rising by 8%, according to Bank of Ireland’s card data. While many parents stole a march on the pre-Christmas rush, overall October debit and credit card spending was down slightly (-3%) compared with September, with consumers potentially tightening their belts ahead of the festive season.

    A major hike in cinema spending (+97%) in October was notable, and suggests many people may have decided to kick back with a bucket of popcorn and put the spending hand-brake on. As many offices continue to reopen, there was a 30% monthly rise on tailoring and clothes alterations.

    There was a predictable boost for the entertainment and social sector as late-night bars and nightclubs swung back into action. Bank of Ireland’s Group Data team revealed significant spending increases in Dublin city centre nightclubs. Analysis of popular haunts spread throughout Dublin 2 showed that people starved of late-night disco action dusted off their dancing shoes, with some venues recording spend increases of over 200%. Overall social spending slowed in October, only rising by 2%, with monthly restaurant spend increased by just 1%, so the re-opening of the late-night industry was timely.

    Foreign travel spending saw peaks and troughs in October, with airline outlay rising by 8% but card spending spikes taking place in locations that may surprise many. An interesting spending trend emerged as Scandi-type destinations like Norway (+13%), Finland (+13%), Iceland (+11%) and Denmark (+8%) all saw spending levels rise, while perennially popular holiday destinations like Greece (-40%), Italy (-18%) and Portugal (-14%) all witnessed spending drops when compared to the previous month. 

    Monthly spending levels declined slightly across all 26 counties. Kildare (-4%), Kerry (-4%), Clare (-4%), Kilkenny (-4%) and Mayo (-3%) all suffered dips, with no county recording a spending rise in October.

    Commenting on October’s spending patterns, John O’Beirne, Director of Business Banking at Bank of Ireland said: “Christmas shopping has started early for some, with consumers out early for toys, gaming and clothes, perhaps driven by commentary on supply chain issues. While bars and nightclubs saw predictable spikes in spending, overall social spending was relatively flat, so many appear to be slowing down their spending slightly in advance of the festive period. Spending on caterers rose by 19% in October, as many households kept their socialising in-house.” 

    “As more and more parts of the economy gradually scale back up, future spending patterns will be more focussed on the impending festive season. Consumer spending in retail outlets will be worth analysing, as outlets manage supply chain issues and ensure their shelves are well stocked in the run up to the busy holiday period.”

    Bank of Ireland debit card & credit card transactions – October 2021 versus September 2021


    Cinemas                                  +97%

    Amusement Parks              +74%

    Toy & Game Shops              +58%

    Caterers                                   +19%

    Clothing                                   +5%


    Accommodation                   -10%

    Car Rentals                             -10%

    Charity                                      -16%

    Office equipment                 -20%

    Education                                 -68%








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