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New Figures Confirm Surge in Holiday Bookings

New Figures Confirm Surge in Holiday Bookings

Alan Healy

Irish Examiner

Card transactions for airlines jumped 170% last month

Consumer spending on airlines increased by 170% last month as the removal of Covid restrictions encouraged the public to book holidays.

New data from AIB based on credit and debit card transactions by its customers show overall consumer spending fell by 15% in January when compared with the annual pre-Christmas surge in spending for December. AIB customers spend an average of €73m a day in January through more than one million card transactions.

Spend on consumer goods was down in various sectors including clothing down 48%, groceries down 23%, electronics down 33%, hardware down 11%, homewares down 45% and health and beauty down 27%.

However, spending on airlines was up across all age groups. Those over the age of 65 recorded the largest increase in airline spend, up 256% on December, followed closely by those between the age of 45 and 64, whose spending on airlines was up 241%.

"January is traditionally a quiet month for consumers, having spent the month of December shopping for the Christmas break, buying clothes, presents and food," John Brennan, Head of SME Banking at AIB said.

"However, January is also known for holiday planning and this is evident from the increase in spending with airlines, which is up 170% and is no doubt welcomed by the airline sector given the turbulent two years it has experienced."

"As we move forward and away from Covid restrictions, we would expect spending to pick up as consumers start to return to pre-pandemic behaviours in the coming months," he said.

Across all sectors, those between the ages of 45 and 54 recorded the biggest drop in spending in January, down 17%, while those under the age of 25 recorded the smallest drop, down 6%.

Consumers in County Roscommon recorded the biggest drop in spending during the month, down 18%, while those in Dublin recorded the smallest drop, down 14%.

Flights from Irish airports are still down by almost a third compared to pre-pandemic levels according to data from Eurocontrol. Traffic had fallen by almost 90% during the first lockdown in 2020.

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