Irish retailers expect consumer spend and revenues to grow this Christmas

Irish retailers are feeling considerably more optimistic about consumer spending and trading revenues this Christmas compared to last year, according to a new survey published by Barclays Bank Ireland.

The study, conducted amongst Irish retailers across a range of retail categories, found that over two thirds (68%) of respondents expected consumers to spend more this festive season, up from 40% in 2013. In line with this, 60% of retailers also said they expected their revenues to improve this Christmas, compared to just 28% last year.

44% of retailers believed that sales would improve by up to 10% year on year, while 16% said they would improve dramatically, by more than 10%.

In terms of threats to the success of Christmas trading this year, over half (52%) of retailers ranked a fall in consumer confidence as the number one risk, compared to 28% last year. IT or systems failures (48%) and website failures (42%) were ranked as the second and third greatest threats respectively.

Commenting on the findings, Head of Large Corporates for Barclays Bank Ireland, Helen Kelly said:

It is encouraging to see that following a year of gradual economic recovery and a more positive budget than expected for Irish consumers, retailer sentiment continues to improve. Hopefully retailers’ expectations will materialise, which would not only offer a significant boost to their revenues but would help to underpin the wider recovery of the retail sector in Ireland.”

According to the survey, this year, retailers believe electricals will overtake health and beauty as the retail category set to experience the biggest growth, closely by toys and games, clothing, and footwear and accessories. In the same vein, a third of retailers (32%) believe that consumers will also spend more on frivolous, fun gifts, while nearly two thirds (62%) believe that shoppers will stick with gifting practical presents. The remaining 6% expect that customers will purchase a few luxury items.

The study also highlights consumers’ continued migration towards shopping via mobile device, with 68% of retailers surveyed expecting purchases made by smartphone and tablet to grow by a whopping 79% this year, compared to 50% in 2013.

In the run up to Christmas, retailers surveyed anticipated the Saturday before Christmas (20th December) would be the busiest day in-store along with Christmas Eve.

Article Published: 10/11/2014