Irish online shopping sees record-high spending

December saw a 6.6% rise in spending, which was a 16% year-on-year increase

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Image: Visa

There has been a record increase in online shopping by Irish consumers.

The December Visa Europe Irish Consumer Spending Index saw a 6.6% rise in consumer spending, which was a 16% year-on-year increase - the strongest growth in the series history.

It says toy shopping, and the release of 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens', helped to drive a 10.7% increase in spending on recreation and culture - one of the best performing categories.

'The Force Awakens' generated €836,845 in Irish ticket sales on its opening day alone, which represents a new record.

Visa says the December performance "completes a particularly strong final quarter of 2015 for consumer spending", with a 7.1% growth over the same quarter in 2014.

The rise came after Cyber Monday in November, the busiest day in the year for online shopping.

And while face-to-face expenditure continued to rise in December, the rate of expansion slowed to 3.8% year-on-year.

Three of the monitored sectors posted double-digit growth in spending over the year to December - namely household goods, health and education and recreation and culture.

Similarly the hotels, restaurants and bars category saw strong growth - albeit at a slower pace than previous months - at 7.6%.

But the survey found one area of slowdown was clothing and footwear, as weather conditions hampered retailers' efforts to secure sales of winter clothing.

Conor Langford, country manager for Ireland at Visa Europe, said: "The latest growth in December was an extremely positive milestone for the economy as there was a year-on-year rise in consumer spending every month during 2015".