September card spend on Restaurants & Dining down 13%

Debit & credit card spending on social activities decreased by 9% over the month of September, with card spending in the Restaurants and Dining sub-sector experiencing a 13% decline according to the Central Bank's Credit & Debit Card Statistics for the month.


"Spending increased in the days leading up to - and in this case peaked on the day prior to - the new restrictions being introduced."

“Spending increased in the days leading up to – and in this case peaked on the day prior to – the new restrictions being introduced.”

Spending in the social sector had been increasing as Covid-19 restrictions were eased, reported the Central Bank, but September saw its first reduction since April.

“This reflects seasonal spending patterns from previous years,” according to the report, “Spending in the restaurants and dining sub-sector decreased by 13% and accounted for the majority of the overall monthly reduction in the social sector. Spending on entertainment was also lower on the month, recording a decrease of 3% compared to August. However, spending in the social sector is still 160% higher than its low point in April 2020 and represents the second-highest monthly spend in the sector this year.

“After a period of increased spending activity in the latter weeks of September, total spending declined through the first half of October,” stated the Central Bank, adding, “The latest daily data, up to 25 October, only covers the first four days of the nationwide ‘Level 5’ restrictions. As seen with the original restrictions, spending increased in the days leading up to – and in this case peaked on the day prior to – the new restrictions being introduced.”

Card spending in the services sector remained lower in year-on-year terms, while spending in the social sector was marginally lower in year-on-year terms, as spending on entertainment declined by 9%.


Table 1: Debit Card PoS and Credit Card Sectoral Expenditure (€000s)[3]

Sep-19 Aug-20 Sep-20 M-o-M % change Y-o-Y % change
Total PoS Spending 4,902,560 5,376,759 5,340,159 -1% 9%
of which:
Total Retail 2,148,792 2,733,320 2,656,412 -3% 24%
Groceries/Perishables 863,796 1,146,593 1,090,559 -5% 26%
Clothing 233,854 286,147 264,111 -8% 13%
Electrical Goods 116,603 145,409 154,027 6% 32%
Hardware 285,384 395,490 403,206 2% 41%
Total Services 1,310,841 1,157,070 1,241,384 7% -5%
Transport 355,542 178,494 161,430 -10% -55%
Accommodation 227,535 228,570 167,633 -27% -26%
Education 163,251 77,318 206,973 168% 27%
Health 109,046 126,626 139,265 10% 28%
Utilities 177,431 235,599 232,257 -1% 31%
Professional Services 256,339 295,801 313,240 6% 22%
Total Social 504,210 549,280 498,164 -9% -1%
Restaurants/Dining 306,371 362,101 314,375 -13% 3%
Entertainment 169,515 159,971 154,484 -3% -9%

As the Central Bank’s Credit and Debit Card statistics only measure card spend and don’t take account of changes in cash spending in these sectors it cannot comment on the change in overall spend in the restaurant sector.

“However there has been a significant decrease in the demand for cash since the beginning of the pandemic, hence there may have been a substitution effect from cash to card payments,” a spokesman for the Central Bank told Drinks Industry Ireland in reference to the 3% growth in year-on-year card usage in the Restaurants/Dining sector.

Each individual sub-sector reported in the Table is made up of a number of individual sectors.

For example the ‘Restaurant/Dining’ sub-sector is made up of: Caterers Social Restaurants/Dining; Eating Places, Restaurants; Drinking Places and Fast Food Restaurants.

“From the aggregate level of statistics that are collected we’re not able to identify which of the above drove the 3% YoY increase in September,” stated the spokesman.


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