More than a quarter of people leaving the state to save on Christmas shopping

Clothes, alcohol, and food/groceries top the shopping list for those leaving shopping outside the state

image via Reuters

image via Reuters

A new poll finds over 25% of people will be heading to Northern Ireland to make savings on Christmas shopping.

The weakness of sterling is probably the key factor behind an upsurge in shoppers planning a trip to Northern Ireland or Great Britain in advance of Christmas, according to the research from the AA.

In a survey of 9,000 people, over a quarter of those surveyed  said they intended on leaving the country between now and Christmas to shop. Northern Ireland and the UK were the top destinations with 12% planning a trip to Northern Ireland and 5% intending to visit Great Britain.

It's a marked increase on last year, when 7.3% stated they were planning a trip to Northern Ireland.

“It is very likely that the currency is the key factor but it’s probably not the only one", Director of Consumer Affairs at AA Conor Faughnan said. “There is also a bit more confidence around this year. Traffic volumes are up, employment is up and people are spending more generally."

Clothes top the list for those shopping abroad this year with 61% of those surveyed planning on buying clothing while shopping outside the state, followed by alcohol (35%) and food/grocers (34%).

'A very real impact'

The Government Chief Whip said last month that Irish retailers will suffer if shoppers choose to go to Northern Ireland to do their Christmas shopping.

Fine Gael TD Regina Doherty, said although consumers may benefit in the short-term, the decreasing value of Sterling is bad news for retailers south of the border.

"This is a very real impact", she said. "To normal people, they'll see it as a positive, but in actual fact it's going to be a real negative to our retail industry."