Consumer spending surged past pre-pandemic levels last month, according to new figures from Revolut.
The banking services company said spending among its customers in August this year was 10% ahead of the same month in 2019.
It noted that the figures are adjusted for growth in its user base over the past year.
The company recorded higher spending across a range of categories – including sportswear, clothing, groceries, fast food, hardware, gardening and home furnishing.
Spending on airlines was up 65%, although spend in airports was significantly lower – suggesting that while international travel has yet to fully take off again, people have been booking holidays for the year ahead.
Duncan Graham, Managing Director at Retail Excellence Ireland told Newstalk that businesses classed as non-essential during lockdown are now bouncing back.
“Clothing – particularly ladieswear, menswear, a bit of childrenswear, gifts, jewelry – all of those items we often buy on impulse let’s say.
“Those things have been very popular.”
The biggest increase in spending came in digital categories – with spending on apps up 439%, digital media like books, music and films up 252%; and games up 135%.
Meanwhile, spending at garden centres was up 62% compared to two years ago; at hardware stores, 39%; at home furnishing stores, up 22%; and at florists, up 70%.
In hospitality, the figures suggest spending in Irish bars is up 1% while spending at hotels is up 5%.
Revolut said that, in both cases, while the spending is higher the number of people spending it is lower.
The report also notes that restaurants and cinemas have yet to recover to pre-pandemic levels.
Restaurants are still down by 25%, cinemas by 15% and tourist attractions and museums by 27%.
Data from Apple and Google also suggests that traffic volumes have largely returned to pre-pandemic levels.
But Transport Commentator Conor Faughnan thinks we're not quite there yet.
“I suspect there is still a bit to go yet,” he said. “September is normally the traffic season.”
“In normal years we are talking about returning schools and colleges and things get very congested.
“You would notice that towards, the end of September when the days darken, we will get some really, really heavy traffic days and that is what we will be talking about.”
Spending on airlines was up 65%, although spend in airports was significantly lower.
Revolut said the figures suggest that while international travel has yet to fully take off again, people have been booking holidays for the year ahead.
With reporting from Kacey O’Riordan.