Retail spending surge recorded in Dublin following the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions

Retail spending in the Dublin economy is continuing to surge to the highest levels in seven years driven largely by considerable pent-up consumer demand and the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions.

The latest MasterCard SpendingPulse survey, produced on behalf of the four Dublin local authorities, shows that total retail expenditure expanded by 14.9 per cent quarter on quarter to reach the highest point since the series began in 2014.

Spending levels in the discretionary and entertainment categories is the main catalyst with increases of 64.5 per cent and 69.4 per cent recorded in these categories – albeit from low bases – as the easing of trading restrictions on retail outlets, hotels, restaurants and bars drove demand.

Despite falling back by 9 per cent from a record high from April, May and June this year, splashing the cash on household goods remained broadly stable in what is an ongoing signal of confidence amongst Dublin consumers.

There was a modest reversal of consumer trends towards online retail in the quarter down by 5.3 per cent quarter on quarter, though spending in this category remained ahead up by 3.1 per cent of the same period last year.

Dublin retail spending grew by 10.5 per cent with discretionary outlays up 13.5 per cent in department and clothing stores was the main stimulant.

The necessities’ category remained robust up by 6.7 per cent in spite of the recovery, entertainment spending was up 11.5 per cent which will have been driven by consumers taking advantage of opportunities to dine and drink outside the home.

Spending growth at the national level was considerably more limited in Q3 at 1.9 per cent yet remained ahead by 9.5 per cent compared to the same period last year.

Discretionary expenditure was the strongest category of growth with quarterly and yearly QoQ growth of 61.7 per cent and 17.2 per cent respectively.

Tourist spending

The easing of travel restrictions aided tourist spending in Dublin which continued to recover by 63.5 per cent compared to the same time last year.

The strongest expansion was from the French market where growth of more than 71 per cent being recorded.

This was followed by the German (+36.8 per cent) and UK (+23.3 per cent) markets and underlines the willingness of European consumers to both travel to and spend in Dublin.

Expenditure by US and Chinese tourists remained subdued in the quarter and is likely to take quite some time to recover.

Michael McNamara, Global Head of SpendingPulse, MasterCard, said that
“Overall, retail activity in Dublin remains very positive with year-over-year growth rates rebounding from 2020.

“Year-on-year online spending growth may not seem impressive at 3.1 per cent, however it is rather extraordinary that growth rates remain in positive territory and are holding on to the extraordinary gains experienced last year”.


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