Bank of Ireland analysis shows August spending jumps for hospitality, home and international travel, and ‘back to school’ needs

  • Restaurants leads hospitality spending increase – up 37% compared with July
  • Bank of Ireland customers spent most on accommodation in Clare during ‘stay-cation’ boom; ‘in-store’ card transactions highest in Portugal for foreign travellers 

2 September 2021: Bank of Ireland debit and credit card transactions in August rose dramatically in certain sectors of the economy, particularly the hospitality sector as indoor dining and drinking finally became an option for those with vaccine passports. Overall the hospitality sector witnessed an August spending increase of 29%, with restaurants enjoying a rise of 37% during the months, followed by pubs (+32%) and fast food outlets at 17%.

The domestic accommodation sector also enjoyed a bumper August in spending terms, with total debit and credit transactions rising on a monthly basis by 20% as ‘stay-cations’ led the way. Popular tourist hotspots like Clare (+33%), Waterford (+24%), Donegal (+32%) and Kerry (+28%) all saw big accommodation spending lifts within their counties as the warm weather sustained for most of the month. Spending on car rentals rose by 34% in August, as people criss-crossed the county to avail of leisure and activity options that had been closed off for so long.

However many people were still keen to take off to foreign climbs during the period in question, as airline spending rose by 47%. Bank of Ireland spending data reveals that ‘in-store’ card transactions rose in Portugal during August by 110% on a monthly comparative basis, followed by Spain (+107%) and Italy (+101%). Somewhat surprisingly perhaps it appears that travelling to the UK did not appeal to as many in August, with overall spending there rising only by 28% last month.

People aged 65 and over recorded a significant social spending rise of 32% during the month, illustrating increasing levels of comfort with the gradual reopening of society. And as the last adult cohort to be offered the vaccine it will come as no surprise to many that the 18-25 age group powered on in August, recording a social spending spike of 28% as they were able to avail of the jab and could resume parts of their lives that had been placed on hold. The next youngest cohort, 26-35 year old, continued this theme – recording a spending rise of 15%.

And given the month that was in it, the imminent return to schools and universities for student’s nationwide saw spending in the education sector rise by a whopping 198%. Secondary school spending spiked by 174% month on month, while spending in the 3rd Level area rose higher again (+405%). Monday, August 30th, proved to be the busiest spending day for education in the month as students (and parents no doubt!) rushed to ensure they had everything they needed ahead of schools fully reopening.

Commenting on the August spending patterns, John O’Beirne, Director of Business Banking at Bank of Ireland said: “The further opening up of the hospitality sector at the end of July was a very welcome development for businesses across Ireland, and also their customers who hadn’t had a meal or a drink inside an establishment for a considerable period of time. It’s a positive indicator for the domestic hospitality industry that once they were able to open their doors vaccinated customers were keen to walk back through them. Domestic travel spend also surged in August, with spending patterns showing that locations like Clare, Donegal, Kerry and Waterford continue to maintain their strong appeal. 

“As the restrictions loosen further and we look forward to a full return to normality in the near-term it will be interesting to see what the spending data produces over the coming months. For August it was no surprise to see education spending surge ahead of the new academic year. As consumers gear up to return to workplaces, and with public transport now back to full occupancy levels, spending may be increasingly varied over the coming months.”

Bank of Ireland debit card and credit card transactions – August 2021 versus July 2021

Education                               +198%
Restaurants                           +37%
Car Rentals                             +34%
Bars                                           +32%
Accommodation                  +20%
Entertainment                      +12%
Clothing                                   +9%
Transport                                +7%


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