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December 23 on course to be busiest day for Christmas shopping

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Customers carried out 2.8m transactions in shops on December 23 last year, making it the busiest day of the year for in-store shopping, and this year will be no different, according to new data from AIB.

Spending on December 23 was 84% higher than the average day last year, with the busiest time between 12pm and 1pm, when over €12m was spent in one hour alone.

AIB’s Christmas Spend Trend also revealed that December 23 was the busiest day of the year for grocery shopping in-store, with spending 191% higher than the average day in 2022.

Despite the rise in online shopping, 93% of grocery spending was done in-store, compared to just 7% online.

The report also found that women spend more than men on shopping in the run up to Christmas, except on Christmas Eve.

On December 24, the busiest in-store shopping by men was carried out between 12pm and 1pm, as they made a last-minute dash to the shops.

In the week leading up to Christmas last year, men spent almost twice as much on jewellery as women.

When men purchased jewellery, the average transaction was €208, whereas for women, it was €106.

That same week, 63% of the clothing spend was by women, their average transaction was €64.

However, men did spend more per transaction on clothes as their average spend was €85.

Commenting on the findings, AIB’s head of SME banking, John Brennan said: “It’s the busiest time of the year for many businesses and they will welcome the fact that this year is on course to be as busy as ever, particularly in those final days in the run up to Christmas Day. 

Retailers can plan for a very busy Saturday on December 23, with over 2.8m transactions in shops on the same day last year, making it the busiest day of the year for in store spending. 

“It is great to see people shopping in store as it not only supports Irish businesses and jobs, it also ensures that the products we buy have a lower carbon footprint as they aren’t travelling hundreds of kilometres before reaching us.”

For pubs, the busiest day of the holiday season was Friday, December 23, with €5.2m spent in total, with men spending almost twice as much as women — €3.4m compared to €1.8m.

The second busiest day for pubs was Saturday, December 17 with a €4.8m spend, followed by New Year’s Eve with €4.3m.

The report shows that people from Wicklow spent the most on their cards in-store and online in December 2022.

They spent an average of €1,941, and were followed closely by people from Kildare who spent €1,931, and Meath who racked up €1,925. 

People from Donegal spent the least at €1,512, followed by people from Monaghan with €1,636, and Leitrim at €1,654.

Traditionally, December 8 was a busy day for shopping in Dublin, as people travelled from all over the country. 

However, there was no noticeable increase in spending on December 8 last year, nor in 2021. This may indicate that this tradition may be coming to an end.

The quietest day of the year for spending in shops was Christmas Day, however, there were still 85,000 transactions in-store that day, mostly on fuel supplies.

This data was compiled from over 75m card transactions carried out by AIB customers in store and online during December 2022.

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