Irish consumers spending more on home fitness, gaming and streaming during COVID-19

Retail sales buoyed by online and grocery shopping

Analysis of debit card transactions by Bank of Ireland has revealed that Irish consumers have been spending more on home fitness products, gaming and streaming services during COVID-19. The analysis has tracked debit card spend since March 12th and compared it with the average spend prior to restrictions being implemented by the Government in response to COVID-19 (January 1st – March 11th inclusive). It shows that retail spend during that period was buoyed by online activity and a 37% increase in grocery shopping.

While overall debit card spend was down 25%, retail spend has shifted online with significant increases in gaming, clothing, electronics, household appliances, home fitness products and streaming services. Streaming services are up 27% and since the well-timed Irish launch, Disney+ streaming spend has increased by over 500%. There was an increase of 122% in Playstation spend, while Xbox increased by 86%. Reflecting the unprecedented changes in our lives, spend on air travel, passenger travel and accommodation has dropped more than 80%. Restaurant spend is down 69% as the recent trend towards a food delivery model continues.

Debit card spend March 12th – April 12th (compared to average spend January 1st – March 11th inclusive)

Up ↑

  • 37% increase in grocery shopping
  • 27% increase in spend on streaming services
  • 122% increase in Playstation spend
  • Xbox up 86%

Down ↓

  • Overall debit card spend down 25%/li>
  • 82% drop in accommodation
  • 69% drop in spend on restaurants
  • Spend on repair services down 41%

Discussing the key trends, John O’ Beirne, Director of Products, Bank of Ireland said: “COVID-19 has changed our lives immensely, impacting health, social interaction, travel and also affecting the livelihoods of many. Our data, which tracks debit card spend in March once the schools closed, demonstrates the importance of card services in the current environment, with retail activity driven by online and grocery sales. Shoppers are responding to the new normal, adapting behaviour and spend to their personal circumstances. As we continue to travel less, we are looking for more ways to keep ourselves and our families engaged, and spending habits are clearly reflecting that trend. Home exercise and entertainment are being prioritised, while spend on travel and restaurants has dropped significantly in line with the required restrictions.

“The people and technology supporting payment services are the engine-room for retail sales and our colleagues are working 24/7 to keep cards, payments, online and a range of other services running. Our digital channels are extremely busy, with a significant proportion of those applying for a mortgage break doing it through our website. We will continue to ensure these critical services are resourced appropriately, providing stability for consumers and businesses to transact during this challenging time.”