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Consumer spending surpasses pre-pandemic levels


Spending by consumers has now surpassed pre-pandemic levels, figures from a financial technology firm suggest.

xpenditure was up 10pc last month compared with August two years ago.

There has been a huge surge in spending on airline tickets, Revolut said its customer accounts revealed.

Spending was also higher across categories including sportswear, clothing, groceries, fast food, hardware, gardening and home furnishing, an analysis of data from Revolut’s 1.5 million Irish customers indicated.

The biggest rise was on airfares, spending on which was up 65pc in August compared with the same month in pre-pandemic 2019.

Combined with recent airline data, this may suggest a spike in Irish consumers booking holidays now for the year ahead.

Across digital goods categories such as computer and phone apps the increases in spending ranged between 125pc and 439pc.

The figures suggest the hoped-for post-vaccination boom in Irish consumer spending is under way, Revolut said.

Separately the Central Bank of Ireland has suggested Irish consumers will spend about half of the surplus €15bn saved during the pandemic.

Retailers have been hoping they would start seeing the fruits of this spending surge as restrictions eased over the summer.

There has also been a huge rise in spending on digital media such as books, music, movies and on games.

Traditional retailers are also benefiting from the unleashing of pandemic pent-up savings.

Spending at garden centres was up 62pc compared with two years ago, Revolut said.

There were also higher expenditure levels recorded at hardware stores, home-­furnishing shops, and at ­florists.

Last month also saw higher spending on clothing than the same month in 2019.

Sales of sportswear have soared since Covid-19 arrived. Spending in that category is up 66pc compared with two years ago.

Supermarket spending has also soared since the pandemic struck. Spending on groceries was 32pc higher than in August 2019.

With little change in the overall numbers of people spending in supermarkets, this shows Irish people are now consistently spending more at the supermarket than they used to.

In the hard-hit hospitality sectors spending by consumers is catching up to where it was two years ago.

Spending on Revolut accounts by Irish customers in bars was up 1pc, while spending in hotels was 5pc higher.

In both cases, though, the number of consumers spending money was at least 20pc lower than in August 2019. This could mean fewer people are going out but those who do are spending more when they go out.

However, the report by London-headquartered Revolut also shows that spending by Irish consumers has yet to return to pre-pandemic levels at restaurants and cinemas.

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