Irish consumers carried on socialising during December despite the arrival of Omicron and heightened restrictions on hospitality.
The latest monthly Revolut Report shows that despite the arrival of the Omicron variant and the subsequent restrictions on hospitality – including an 8pm curfew – spending in bars and restaurants actually increased compared to November. Spending in bars was up 8% over November (although in restaurants it remained unchanged) as the public continued to go out over the Festive Season.
December’s bar spend was up by 39% over that in December 2020 as average individual monthly spend in bars rose 11% to €84.04 from €75.55 in November.
Off-licences enjoyed a traditional surge in seasonal spending too last December, up by 47% over November.
Overall consumer spending for December was 5% higher than in November.
Revolut also reports that customer spend at testing labs rose by 159% in December compared to November, with the average customer spending €62.91 on test kits during the month. Moreover, the total number of Revolut customers spending money on testing surged by 181% versus the previous month.
The data from Revolut’s 1.5 million Irish customer base suggests that consumers were using testing partly to verify symptoms but also partly to ensure that they were socialising safely when they did go out.
“Our data has shown that when they are fully Locked down, Irish consumers will quickly shift to online spending to meet their needs,” commented Sebastian Hamilton, Head of Public Affairs at Revolut Ireland, “Equally, when the opportunity allows, they do like to spend in person and to socialise – as they did in December.
“At the same time, though, the huge surge in expenditure on testing shows that people were also highly responsible in trying to ensure that if they were planning to socialise, they were doing so as safely as possible.”