September Spending Reveals Slowdown in Consumer Activity
- Spending for the month down 6% compared with August
- Social spending down on the previous month; education spend soars
- Accommodation outlay falls significantly – county by county declines recorded
6th October 2021: Bank of Ireland debit and credit card transactions in September dropped (-6%) when compared to the previous month as consumer activity nationwide slowed down. The data reveals an overall decline in social spending (-11%) as people returned to their more regular routines following a busy August filled with staycations and children’s activities. Restaurants suffered a drop (-18%) in September, the popularity of fast-food outlets fell also (-17%) and pubs were less busy than during the summer – experiencing a monthly spending decline of 22%.
Transport spend saw a 3% rise, with train and bus expenditure rising by 2%, while car rental dropped by 17% in September and toll road fees dropped by 1%. Airline spending rose 20% however, perhaps an indicator of consumers eyeing up a city or sunshine break for later in the year. International spending dipped as debit and credit card activity in Portugal (-6%), the UK (-5%), Italy (-1%) and Spain (-1) fell.
Spend on entertainment also took a hit in September, going up by just 2%, which contrasts with a 13% rise in August. Bowling alleys were an outlier, enjoying a 78% spending surge during the month, but amusement parks (-47%), cinemas (-36%) and casinos (-5%) all witnessed spending levels decline. As entertainment levels dipped it was no surprise to see spending in the education sector soar (+99%) as students nationwide dusted off the books. Spending in universities in particular rose strongly, with a 162% monthly rise recorded.
County by county the spending picture remained the same, with falls recorded across the provinces. Cork spending took a -5% hit, as did spending in Kerry (-5%), Donegal (-4%), Wexford (-5%), Dublin (-5%) and Tipperary (-6%). The accommodation industry, buoyed by a strong August saw a drop in September as the school year recommenced, with hotel spend down by 30% and trailer parks and campsites suffering a dip of 50%.
Commenting on September’s spending patterns, John O’Beirne, Director of Business Banking at Bank of Ireland said: “We can see from the debit and credit card transactions that September was a slower month on the consumer front, with the summer buzz beginning to wear off and belts tightening somewhat. The honeymoon period of spending after the lifting of restrictions appears to be normalising, in line with schools reopening and more businesses returning to the office. The data appears to indicate that those with more money and time are still looking to spend, while others are holding steady. When we look at the age breakdown, there was no change in spending from those over-65, which contrasted with the 18 - 25 cohort (-8%) and the 26 - 35 cohort (-7%).
“All going to plan, October sees the lifting of the last round of Covid-19 restrictions and we can all aim for a full return to the things we took for granted prior to the pandemic. This next stage will see the remaining shuttered sectors reopen their doors, and it will be interesting to see how our spending evolves in the weeks and months to come.”
Bank of Ireland debit card and credit card transactions – September 2021 versus August 2021
Up / Down
Car Rentals -17%