ROMANTIC Ireland appears to be alive and well with new figures showing increased spending on hotels, spa breaks, beauty treatments and jewelery ahead of Valentine’s Day.
Eitrim, Tipperary and Offaly are the most romantic counties, according to a Bank of Ireland card spend analysis.
The numbers show shoppers across the state are flocking to buy traditional Valentine’s Day gifts such as chocolates, jewelry, perfume and even spa vacations.
The bank looked at debit and credit card spending for the run-up to Valentine’s Day Feb. 4-8, which it said revealed an explosion in pent-up consumer demand.
Expenditure for the period increased by 456% compared to the same period in 2021.
The fourfold increase in spending was on basic gifts such as chocolates, jewelry, perfumes and even spa stays.
The largest increases in spending were recorded by shoppers in Leitrim, followed by consumers in Tipperary and Offaly.
But shoppers in Carlow recorded the lowest spend on Valentine’s Day items of any county, with shoppers in Clare and Cork also proving more resistant to the charms of the annual outpouring of love.
With most aspects of life back to normal after the majority of Covid restrictions were lifted, the allure of enjoying a relaxing time at a spa has proven tempting for many, spending in this area increased by 435%.
But spending in hotels soared 1,000pc.
And the data also revealed that total spending on health and beauty products increased by 880% as they seek to look their best for their partners.
Men spend more on perfumes and chocolates.
And in a sign that love is forever, it wasn’t just the nation’s young people looking to treat that special someone in their lives, with the 46-to-55-year-old cohort topping the spending chart by producing an increase in expenditure of 520%.
Bank of Ireland’s Jilly Clarkin said people were making up for lost time.
“It’s a time of year when the January blues have been banished and people can look forward to better days.
“This is reflected in spending data leading up to Valentine’s Day, as consumers opened their wallets and purchased items that might not have been a priority 12 months ago.”
She said the nationwide picture was positive as consumers showed a willingness to spend ahead of Monday, with notable increases also recorded in Roscommon, Wicklow and Waterford.
“But overall, the story is one of plans being made and romantic preparations being made as consumers look to spoil their own Valentine’s Day this year,” Ms. Clarkin said.