Expert View

St Patrick’s Day was busiest for pubs in 2023 reveals AIB Spend Trend

St Patrick’s Day celebrations led to busiest day of the year for pubs and August was the busiest month for restaurants, according to the AIB survey
Bank holiday weekends are big drivers of spend in pubs

 Bank holiday weekends are also big drivers of spend in pubs

New data from AIB reveals that in the hospitality sector, August was the busiest month for restaurants and and bank holiday weekends are big drivers of spend in pubs. Unsurprisingly, the busiest day for pubs was St Patrick’s Day, 17 March (+218% daily average), followed by Sunday 29 October (+156% daily average) and Sunday 6 August (+152% daily average). Men spent more than women in pubs (67% men, 33% women) and spending was up 8% from January to November 2023 when compared with the same period in 2022.

The data was compiled from over 800 million card transactions carried out by AIB customers in store and online from January to November 2023 and has been anonymised and aggregated. Data provided by AIB features one of the most comprehensive and accurate data sets on consumer spending in Ireland.

The data also revealed that people planned their holidays early in the year to beat the January blues – it was the busiest month for spending on airline tickets and the busiest day of the year for buying flights was Wednesday 11 January (+57% daily average). Black Friday (24 November 2023) was the top spending day of the year.

New Year’s Day and Easter Sunday were the quietest days for spending although they expect Christmas Day will be even quieter.

For hair salons, barbers and beauticians, 82% of the spend was by women and May was the busiest month (+10% daily average) likely because of communion and confirmation celebrations, while January was the quietest (-26% daily average), most likely because spending had taken place in these sectors in the run up to Christmas.

The top five spending destinations abroad were the UK (25%), Spain (20%), France (8%), USA (7%), and Italy (6%).

When it comes to entertainment and ticket sales, Swifties were outspent by Coldplay and Bruce Springsteen fans. The highest spending day for ticket sales was Tuesday 25 July, the day Coldplay tickets went on pre-sale (+1417% average), followed by Monday 6 November, when Bruce Springsteen tickets went on sale (+876% average) and Thursday 20 July, when Taylor Swift tickets went on sale (+564% average).

The AIB Year in Review Spend Trend shows that the top three counties for daily spending were Wicklow (€26.13), Meath (€26.02) and Kildare (€25.94). The lowest spending counties were Donegal (€20.18), Leitrim (€21.57) and Monaghan (€22.28). Dubliners spend the most online per day (€14.37) while people from Kilkenny spend the most instore per day (€13.21).

AIB’s head of SME Banking, John Brennan said: “2023 has seen strong performances for many sectors and it’s great to see the resilience of businesses that faced their fair share of challenges this year, from cost-of-living pressures to severe weather events and a wet summer. December is set to be a busy month for retail and hospitality meaning many businesses will finish the year out strong. And we know that in January, lots of people will be planning their spending for the year and booking holidays. These data insights will help those sectors to plan for 2024 and get the New Year off to a great start.”

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