The latest Visa Europe Irish Consumer Spending Index has been released today. It shows there was no slowdown in consumer expenditure in January after a year-on-year increase of +7.2% was recorded during the month across all payment methods.

This was faster than the increase of +6.5% seen in December and the second-sharpest expansion since the series began in September 2014 (just behind November 2015’s record).

The data shows that Irish consumers continued to increase their spending via eCommerce at a strong pace in January.

There was a larger increase in face-to-face expenditure in January than seen at the end of the year, with the rate of expansion accelerating to +5.6%. This was the second-sharpest growth rate since the series began.

Consumer spending has been helped by higher wages and reduced unemployment. Wages rose 2.7% year-on-year in the third quarter of 2015, while the rate of unemployment is at 8.6%, the lowest since the end of 2008.

Growth in consumer spending was recorded across each of the sectors covered in January, with the fastest increase again in Recreation & Culture. The sector registered a considerable expansion of +14.7%.

Furthermore, increased consumer spending on leisure activities in January was highlighted by a double-digit expansion in spending in the Hotels, Restaurants & Bars category (+12.2%). The Transport & Communication sector was boosted by +7.8% growth, with car sales proving to be a key factor.

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