On the double holiday, people spent time meeting in pubs and restaurants, and made a large number of trips around the country.
Raids on the country’s toll roads and bridges doubled during the St Patrick’s Day holiday, according to a Bank of Ireland analysis of spending patterns.
Experts said the poll results show people would like to ease the reins after two years of heavy Covid restrictions.
Analysis shows a surge in both domestic travel and socializing over the double bank holiday weekend between March 14 and 19.
Transactions on the country’s toll roads and bridges increased by 119 percent.
Spending in pubs rose 39 per cent as people raised glasses to celebrate our national saint.
And restaurants saw a 14 percent increase in consumer spending compared to the same period last week.
Fast food outlets also saw a 12 percent increase in holiday spending.
The Cheltenham Racing Festival marked a record week for gambling companies. Spending on race and other sports betting rose 56 percent during the holiday season.
Jilly Clarkin, Bank of Ireland’s head of customer journeys and SME markets, said the double bank holidays would likely always spark an uptick in consumer activity.
“Spending data absolutely bears this out, with domestic travel rates skyrocketing and a sharp rise in socializing in pubs and restaurants.”
Ms Clarkin said Bank of Ireland’s spending analysis also suggests that for many consumers over the past week, experiences have been more important than possessions.
“While we saw a significant increase in travel and social spending, spending on clothing actually declined 4 percent over the same period, with spending in supermarkets remaining relatively flat week-over-week.”
She said the numbers point to the likely fact that many people who have been denied face-to-face interactions for so long because of the pandemic are prioritizing time with friends and family over the St Patrick’s Day break.
However, there are strong signs that consumer spending will be scaled back sharply this year.
This is due to rising inflation, which will cost the average household around €2,000 this year.
In order to counteract the rapid increase in prices, most consumers are planning to drastically limit their spending.
According to KBC Bank, the surge in inflation will take away around €4 billion in purchasing power from consumers.
Such a sharp drop in consumer spending could significantly weaken economic growth this year.
A loss of purchasing power of 4 billion euros means that an average household loses around 2,000 euros of what it can pay out that year, KBC Bank calculated.
https://www.independent.ie/business/personal-finance/surge-in-socialising-and-travel-during-double-bank-holiday-weekend-41483002.html Increase in socializing and travel during the double bank holiday weekend