Retail spending in Dublin fell in the first quarter of 2022 as a distinct softness in consumer demand affected specific categories within the sector.
The latest MasterCard SpendingPulse™, produced on behalf of the four Dublin Local Authorities, shows that total retail spending in the Capital fell by 8.1% QoQ in Q1. This is likely a result of increased cost of living pressures linked to soaring energy prices due to the war in Ukraine. Despite the QoQ decline, the lifting of most remaining Covid-19 restrictions in January contributed to a YoY increase in consumer spending of 3.4%.
The most significant QoQ fall in Dublin expenditure was in department and clothing stores where Discretionary spending dropped by more than a quarter (-28.3%). Necessities spending also reduced, though this was somewhat expected as the lifting of restrictions provided consumers with additional opportunities to eat and drink outside the home. By contrast, spending increased in Entertainment and Household Goods in the quarter, growing by 7.2% and 4.4% QoQ respectively. The eCommerce channel also continued its upward trajectory expanding by 7.2% QoQ..
On a YoY basis, spending growth in Dublin was driven by the Entertainment and Discretionary categories where significant increases were recorded (+84.6% and +70.1% respectively). Household Goods sales also increased (+9%), though spending on Necessities fell by 5.1%. Expenditure via eCommerce rose further YoY in Q1 (+6.9%), continuing the upward trend of this channel..
At the national level, total retail spending fell both QoQ (-16.2%) and YoY (-4.7%). A QoQ reduction in consumers’ expenditure on Necessities (-8.6%) contributed to this national-level decline, along with contractions in Discretionary (-5.8%) and Household Goods sales (-2.4%). The YoY decline was mainly driven by declining expenditure on Necessities (-8.9%), though Discretionary spending did increase significantly (+41.1%) in the quarter.
German Visitors Lead Revival in Tourist Spending
Retail spending by overseas tourists in Dublin rose by 29.9% QoQ and by over 230% YoY in Q1 2022 to exceed pre-pandemic levels. This positive development is largely attributable to the successful rolling out of vaccines and the easing of travel restrictions both in Ireland and internationally. Germany has continued to be the single strongest source of growth for retail spending by visitors to Dublin with a YoY expansion of over 670% in Q1, albeit from a low base.