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BOI data reveals trends in consumer spending during Covid-19 lockdown

The change in consumer spending is reflected in the time spent at home since the outbreak of the coronavirus, with more people choosing to shop online for retail items such as clothes and gaming consoles.

Since the country was first put into lockdown back in March a lot has changed. The approach to how we work, how we exercise, not to mention how we spend our money is vastly different.

And new data from Bank of Ireland (BOI) has shown exactly that. Analysis of debit card transactions from the bank has shown a marked change in how and what we’re spending our money on since going into lockdown due to the coronavirus.

From exercise equipment to gaming, here’s a look at some of the most important takeaways.

Spending habits

BOI conducted an analysis of debit card transactions since March 12th, looking into customers spending habits since going into lockdown. These transactions were then compared with average spend before restrictions were put in place from January 1st to March 11th.

The key data revealed that despite debit card transactions being down 25%, retail sales during the period were considerably buoyed by an increase in online activity, as well as a 37% increase in grocery shopping.

Online shopping saw increases in the areas of gaming, clothing, electronics, household appliances and home fitness products, with home entertainment seeing one of the biggest collective increases.

Gaming saw a notable increase with many looking to Sony and Microsoft to stay entertained, with Playstation seeing a 122% increase, while Xbox increased by 86% since March.

Unsurprisingly, spend on air travel, passenger travel and accommodation dropped more than 80% according to BOI data, while Restaurant spend was down 69% as people abided by enforced restrictions.

Director of Products at Bank of Ireland, John O’ Beirne 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.

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.”

Streaming is on top

The debit card data revealed that spend on streaming services was up 27% in the period, with many choosing to weather the lockdown by keeping on streaming.

The increase in spend was aided by the well-timed launch of Disney+ here in Ireland, accounting for a 500% increase in spending on that particular platform.

If you’re considering signing up to Disney+, or any of the other on-demand streaming sites for the remainder of the lockdown period, consult our guide on what streaming service is best.

A closer look

Take a look at some of the key data revealed below:

Up  ↑

Down ↓

37% increase in grocery shopping

Overall debit card spend down 25%

27% increase in spend on streaming services

82% drop in accommodation

122% increase in Playstation spend

69% drop in spend on restaurants

Xbox up 86% 

Spend on repair services down 41%

Switch and Save

One way to help make your pocket happy in these difficult financial times is by taking the extra time spent at home to take a look at the life admin you wouldn’t normally have time to address day-to-day.

As always we advise consumers to shop around to make sure you’re getting the best value, from energy, to broadband, to banking!

Recently we took a look at how you could save over €7,000 simply by switching some of your everyday bills.

A simple switch of your energy provider alone could save you up to €413 if you switched today.

Start switching today and enjoy spending those new found savings!

Keep in touch

What do you think of the recent analysis from Bank of Ireland? Have you bought a new subscription to a streaming service? Start the conversation in the comments below.

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