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European consumers are starting to spend more... except in Ireland and Portugal

Figures from Visa show that European consumers increased spending by 2.5 per cent in Q2… but that bailed out states were down.

Image: Martin Keene/PA Archive

EUROPEAN CONSUMERS began to increase their spending in the second quarter of 2011, with Irish consumers standing out as among the few who are flashing their cash less often.

Consumer spending across the EU grew by 2.5 per cent in the months from April to June – the same rate that it had grown by in the first quarter – but Irish consumer spending fell in that time, Visa Europe said.

Mainstream European economies like Germany and France saw respectable growth, at 3.4 per cent and 2.6 per cent respectively), while Eastern European economies like Latvia (12.6 per cent) and Estonia (10.2 per cent) saw a surge in spending.

But while those economies grew, spending fell in Ireland and in Portugal, while Greek spending remained static – though in the latter case spending had already fallen sharply in the last year.

The unadjusted data showed that spending on all Visa cards was up by 13.4 per cent, to €254bn, based on the same period of last year.

The figures also showed that the number of point-of-sale financial transactions was up based on last year, from an average of 17.7 in Q2 of 2010 to 19.3 this year. The average value of each transaction, however, was unchanged at €49.60.

Philip Symes, chief financial officer of Visa Europe, said the data from the second quarter of the year did not make it any easier to estimate how spending would be hit by the more recent troubles on the world’s stock markets.

Visa’s data is compiled based on actual consumer spending, rather than sentiment, and harvests statistics from spending where Visa cards are involved. The company claims that an eighth of all consumer spending in the EU is carried out through a Visa debit or credit card.

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About the author:

Gavan Reilly

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