Optimistic Irish shoppers splashed out on holidays and more during April

Visa registered the strongest increase in consumption since 2014

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File photo of a woman carrying shopping bags | Image: Dominic Lipinski / PA Wire/Press Association Images

Irish shoppers spent 9.7% more during April than they did 12 months ago, according to Visa Europe’s Consumer Spending Index - this is the strongest increase since this measure began in September 2014.

The index takes all spending into account, but the biggest upswing was in online shopping, which was 18.7% higher - this was the largest year-on-year increase in e-commerce that has been measured in Ireland.

Spending in brick and mortar retail outlets also grew, increasing by 5.7% compared to 2015, that's up from growth of 3.9% in March.

Recreation and leisure spending experienced the strongest increase, growing by 20.7% - this comes heading into the summer holiday months, and after the Irish Travel Agents Association reported a 60% increase in holiday bookings during the first quarter of 2016.

Continued strong car sales helped transport and communication spending to grow by 13.7%.

Household goods and hotels, health and education, and the restaurant and bars sectors all enjoyed double-digit growth.

Visa Europe’s country manager for Ireland Philip Konopik commented on the figures, "Despite the potential impact of uncertainty surrounding the negotiations of the formation of the next Government on consumer sentiment, there was no effect on Irish consumer spending.

"Poor weather will have contributed to the eCommerce spike, and the strong increase in recreation and culture spend, particularly on cruises and travel to the United States, is a clear sign of increased optimism among households."