Dublin Retail Spending Grows Despite Contraction in Hospitality in Q1 2024

Dublin Retail Spending Grows Despite Contraction in Hospitality in Q1 2024

Mastercard Spending Pulse

Retail spending in the Dublin economy remained on an upward trajectory in Q1 2024 according to the latest MasterCard SpendingPulse™, produced on behalf of the four Dublin Local Authorities.

The value of retail spending amongst consumers increased by 0.9% QoQ and 2.9% YoY, broadly in line with the preceding quarter, despite the lingering effects of inflation, and relatively high interest rates. Spending by consumers has now risen YoY for 14 consecutive quarters – though the pace of growth has declined as the post pandemic recovery has matured.

Necessities sales were the main driver of QoQ growth in the Capital in Q1 with an expansion of 1.7%. This was followed by increases in Household Goods spending (+1%) and Discretionary spending (+0.8%), which indicate a level of robustness in consumer demand. Expenditure via eCommerce platforms also recorded growth of 0.8% QoQ, thus reversing a modest contraction at the end of 2023. It was a disappointing start to 2024 for the hospitality sector with a 2.5% decline in Entertainment spending at hotels, bars and restaurants in the quarter. This is the most significant contraction since the tail end of the pandemic in 2021.

YoY spending growth of 2.9% in Dublin in the quarter reflected a slowing of momentum and indicates that consumer spending patterns are now in a period of relative stability. Entertainment remained the primary driver of YoY growth with an increase of 7.1%, driven entirely by increases in spending in 2023. Necessities spending also increased at a robust YoY rate of 4.4% in Q1. A more modest growth rate of 2% YoY was recorded in Household Goods expenditure in Q1, which expanded for a 15th consecutive quarter. There was a modest YoY decline in Discretionary spending (-0.6%) which followed a reduction of 1.9% in the previous quarter suggesting that inflation is having an impact on this sector. eCommerce spending continued to show YoY growth, rising by 2.4%.

Mastercard SpendingPulse: Total Spend

US Tourist Spending Continues to Decline

Tourism spending in the Dublin economy returned to growth in Q1 2024 with expansions of 0.9% QoQ and 4.7% YoY. This followed a weak final quarter of 2023 where spending contracted marginally.

The value of spending amongst visitors from the US market recorded a second consecutive quarterly decline. Spending from this market – which is of vital importance to the Dublin and national economies – declined by 3.3% QoQ, and this will be of concern as the summer season approaches. The Chinese market also saw declining expenditure levels with a reduction of 23.2% in Q1.

Conversely, spending amongst French tourists rose by over 26% QoQ, though this does come against the backdrop of fluctuations throughout 2023. Dublin tourist spending was further supported by the UK and German markets in Q1, with respective expansions of 5.5% and 3.3% QoQ.

Mastercard SpendingPulse: Dublin Tourist Spend

Overall retail sales growth in Dublin as well as across Ireland decelerated in Q1 2024 versus Q1 2023. In Dublin, the Entertainment sector had been seeing large growth rates recovering from the pandemic dating back to Q2 2021. The growth rates in the sector are normalising as we move away from the deep declines experienced during the pandemic. Tourism related spending remains strong with growth in Dublin and across Ireland.

Michael McNamara, Global Head of SpendingPulse, MasterCard

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