The Irish hospitality sector recorded a drop in spending as the summer season ended, according to the latest AIB Spend Trend report for September 2023. The monthly data was compiled from 70 million debit and credit card transactions in store and online during September 2023.
The report shows that hotel spending fell (-17%), as did that in pubs (-9%) and restaurants (-5%). These figures are in line with the same month last year (September 2022: hotels -18%, pubs -9%, restaurants -5%).
According to the report, spending by men in pubs in September far outstripped women (+87%). This was also the case on the highest spending day for pubs in the month – 23 September – as fans gathered in pubs to watch Ireland beat South Africa.
In pubs and restaurants, those aged 65 and over had the biggest decrease in spending (-16% in pubs and -12% in restaurants).
However, those under 25 bucked the trend and had an increase in spending in both sectors – the only age group to increase spending in those sectors in September (+14% in pubs and +10% in restaurants).
Those aged 35 to 44 had the biggest decrease in hotel spending (-23%).
The report shows that spending in hotels fell the most in Monaghan (-24%), spending in pubs fell the most in Westmeath (-23%), and spending in restaurants fell the most in Clare (-10%).
AIB noted that spending by its customers in France increased by 51% in September, compared to the same month in 2022, as Irish rugby fans flocked to stand shoulder to shoulder with the Irish team at the Rugby World Cup. The month-on-month increase was 16%.
While more rugby fans aged 25 to 34 made the journey to France, those aged 55 to 64 spent more money while they were there, accounting for 22% of the overall spend in France, compared to 16% among their younger counterparts.
‘Highest Spending Day’
“Spending in the hospitality sector is down, as you would expect at this time of year, however, younger people aged under 25 are still spending in pubs and restaurants and were the only age group to have an increase in spend in those sectors,” said John Brennan, head of SME banking at AIB.
“Irish rugby fans were out in force in France, to support their country at the World Cup, and it’s interesting to note that while younger people were there in bigger numbers, older people were spending more while on tour.
“Support was strong for the rugby team at home, too. All of the highest spending days for pubs coincided with Ireland matches, with the highest one being Ireland versus South Africa.”