Spending online has overtaken physical spending for the first time in Ireland, new data gathered by the financial technology company Revolut has found.

Since the start of this month, 51% of consumer spending has been transacted over the internet, the company has found.

This compares to the period before the introduction of the first significant Covid-19 restrictions in March, when around 25% of consumer spending took place online, according to Revolut which has over a million customers here.

That figure increased significantly during the first phase of national restrictions, reaching 50% on one day in May. 

But when shops reopened, Revolut said consumers resumed buying in physical stores again in larger numbers, with just 30% of day-to-day purchases made online.

The latest shift to online shopping began on 21 October shortly after it was announced by the Government that the country was moving to Level 5 restrictions.

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By the end of that month, online and physical spending was equally split and that rose to 51% online on 1 November, where it has remained since.

The change in spending patterns will raise significant issues for retailers if it continues in the run-up to Christmas after physical shops are allowed to reopen.

The big shift online in recent weeks was also accompanied by a large jump in sales.

Toy retailers saw their sales increase to 166% of the levels recorded in October last year.

Bookshops, garden centres, furniture, hardware and appliance sellers also all benefitted from the boost.

So too did expenditure on cycling, pets and golf.

But in a number of sectors, spending remained exceptionally low, including restaurants, bars and cafes, where it was down 55% and airlines where it was 81% lower.

Cinema spending is also down 95% year-on-year, while spending on taxis is 58% reduced.

In overall terms though, national consumer spending last month was 1% higher compared to the same month a year ago.