The latest AIB Retail Spend Outlook Report has found that customers have returned to spending on occasions and events in the second quarter of this year.
Overall sales in Q2 2022 remained stable, recording a modest 1% decline year on year. The value of in-store sales saw an increase of 5% on last year versus a decline of 17% in the online channel. This movement between in-store and online spend must be viewed in the context of Q1 2021, during which restrictions on some elements of the retail sector were removed in mid-May, allowing greater access to in-store shopping.
With rescheduled weddings happening this year, clothing and beauty sales bounced back significantly. In particular, categories such as cosmetics, dresses, shoes and men's formal wear saw large increases in spending.
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Clothing saw the most dramatic increase in spending, with the overall category up 13% on last year. This includes a significant change in consumer behaviour, with a 55% increase in the instore sales values and an 18% decline in online sales.
However, many trends have reversed compared to a year ago. As more people returned to the office and hybrid working, the demand for electrical items slowed, and as hospitality has opened up, sales in grocery stores (-2%), electronics (-18%) and off-licenses (-19%) have declined.
Stateent By AIB's Head Of Retail Sector
Speaking on the report, AIB's head of retail sector, Alan Makim, said, "The second quarter this year did not see COVID-related restrictions, which had remained in place into early May last year. The data shows evidence of some behavioural changes, such as consumers returning to in-person shopping after an exclusively online environment for some parts of the sector in the first half of last year.
"While the data shows some positive elements, it also suggests an element of caution among consumers, given the current inflationary environment which will likely have an impact on the discretionary spending power and attitudes of consumers as we look forward to Q3."
Statement By Managing Director Of Retail Excellence Ireland
Duncan Graham, managing director of Retail Excellence Ireland, said, "As the quarter came to an end, the summer sales started earlier and further discounts were added to clear stock. Further price increases are expected into the autumn as manufacturing, shipping, energy and labour costs all continue to increase. More government measures will be needed to assist businesses in managing through a difficult trading period."
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