Dublin Retail Spending Reaches New High at end of last year

by Gazette Reporter
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Retail spending in Dublin recorded further growth in the last quarter of 2021 as consumer demand remained strong in the capital’s economy. 

The latest MasterCard SpendingPulse™, produced on behalf of the four Dublin Local Authorities, shows that total retail spending in Dublin rose by 0.4% Quarter on Quarter and 5.1% Year on Year to reach a new peak index reading of 138.5.

There was considerable variation in the performance of the different segments of Dublin’s retail sector in the final quarter of the year. The most significant uplift was in the entertainment segment where hotels, restaurants and bars experienced quarter on quarter expenditure growth of 14.7%. By contrast, spending contracted QoQ for Necessities and Discretionary (Clothes & Department Stores) which fell -4.4% and -1.3% QoQ respectively.

On a Year on Year basis, growth of 5.1% in Dublin was driven by entertainment spending which more than doubled YoY in the Capital (+146%). Significant growth was also seen in the Discretionary sector where, despite a disappointing Q4, spending increased by 113.4% YoY.  Household Goods sales increased modestly YoY in Q4, and remained at a high level which has encouragingly been the case since Q3 2020. Expenditure via eCommerce (0.4%) and on Necessities (0.5%) was mainly flat YoY.

At the national level, total retail spending rose by 10.7% YoY but fell back by 1.3% QoQ. A quarterly reduction in consumers’ Discretionary expenditure (-23.8%) was the main contributor to this national-level decline, though a minor contraction in Household Goods sales (-1.8%) was also recorded. 

Spending by overseas tourists in Dublin rose by 75.9% YoY in Q4, albeit from a low base in 2020. In light of the easing of travel restrictions by the Biden Administration, spending by US tourists recovered to the greatest YoY extent in the quarter (+390%) – though still remained subdued. The German market has recovered to the greatest extent relative to pre-pandemic times with spending in Q4 standing only 11.6% below the same quarter in 2019. Further improvements across all international markets are expected in 2022.

Michael McNamara, Global Head of SpendingPulse, MasterCard, said on consumer spending: “Q4 2021 was another strong quarter for retail in Dublin. Total expenditure by consumers in the Capital expanded by 5.1% YoY, with significant gains seen in the Entertainment sector in spite of tightening restrictions on hospitality. Discretionary spending in department and clothing stores was subdued and is a disappointing conclusion to what was another challenging year for bricks-and-mortar outlets.”  

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