The latest edition of Visa’s Irish Consumer Spending Index suggests that Black Friday sales encouraged a sharp year-on-year rise in Irish household expenditure during November.

The index, which measures expenditure across all payment types (cash, cheques and electronic payments), pointed to a marked acceleration in the rate of growth in consumer spending. Expenditure was up +5.0% year-on-year, much faster than the +0.7% rise in October. In fact, the expansion was the strongest since September 2016.

Growth in expenditure was broad-based between the Face-to-Face and eCommerce channels, with the expansion slightly faster on the high street. Face-to-Face spending rose +5.1% year-on-year, the sharpest increase for a year-and-a-half. Face-to-Face expenditure has now risen in three successive months as the high street mounts a recovery following an 11-month sequence of decline.

eCommerce spending rebounded in November following the previous month’s reduction. Expenditure was up +4.8% year-on-year, as Irish online shoppers sought out deals on Cyber Monday.

Each of the eight broad sectors covered by the Irish Consumer Spending Index saw increases during November, suggesting that households distributed their expenditure across a range of different products and services.

The sharpest expansion was in Household Goods. At +13.7% year-on-year, the rate of growth was the fastest since May 2016. A double-digit rise (+10.4%) was also seen in the Recreation & Culture sector, with the expansion the sharpest for a year.

After having been unchanged in October, spending in the Clothing & Footwear sector increased by +5.6% on an annual basis in November. Expenditure has now risen in the category in seven of the past eight months. Solid spending growth was meanwhile registered in Transport & Communication (+5.0%) and Hotels, Restaurants & Bars (+6.3%). Meanwhile, Food & Drink expenditure increased at the same pace (+2.1%) as in October.

Finally, both the Health & Education (+3.7%) and Miscellaneous Goods & Services (+5.7%) sectors posted returns to growth in November, following falls in spending in the previous month.

Philip Konopik, Country Manager, Ireland, Visa said:

“November was a bumper month for Irish consumer spending, demonstrating a real uplift after October’s more subdued picture when growth slowed to a six month low. The November data bode well for December, which is traditionally one of the biggest months for consumer spending during the year. What was particularly encouraging about the November data was that while eCommerce spending grew as we have come to expect, it wasn’t at the expense of the Irish high street which has now seen three consecutive months of spending increases. What’s more, expenditure increased across each of the eight sectors we track, suggesting that households were distributing their spending across all types of products and services last month.”

Andrew Harker, Associate Director at IHS Markit said:

“Irish retailers and service providers were able to take advantage of the Black Friday period to boost sales this year, helping to generate a marked expansion in household spending. Whether this reflects consumers bringing forward Christmas spending to November remains to be seen, but the festive period certainly seems to have got off to a great start. Particularly pleasing was the broad-based nature of the latest upturn, with e-traders and the high street alike able to generate solid growth.”

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