Consumer spending in January of this year was down 14% on the same month in 2020, according to financial technology company Revolut. 

While sales of digital content and home-related spending soared, the spend was not enough to offset the huge year-on-year falls in spending on hospitality, travel and clothing. 

Cinema spending was down 99% from the bumper takings in the same month last year when packed houses were watching the Star Wars finale. 

Now closed due to level 5 restrictions, the sector is reliant on online sales of vouchers and gift cards. 

Spending in bars was down 94% compared to January 2020, while expenditure in restaurants was 70% lower. 

Clothing expenditure was down 15% compared to a year previously, while spending on footwear fell by 44%. 

However, at the same time, spending in sportswear stores was up year-on-year by 27%, possibly accounted for by more people using 'athleisurewear' as their home-based clothing of choice, including for remote working. 

The report notes that spending in the current phase of restrictions was 22% lower than in November last year, when level 5 restrictions were also in place nationwide. 

This suggests that the decline was not just due to the physical impact of retailers' doors being closed, Paul Scanlon, Professor of Economics at Trinity College Dublin noted.

"January marked a period of unrelentingly bad news on the virus front, as cases soared and hospital admissions peaked," Professor Scanlon said.  

"Added to the mix is the severity of the current lockdown, which coincided with the traditional period of winter sales. All of these factors, coupled with the ongoing delays on vaccine rollout, no doubt dented consumer confidence,' he added. 

The study is compiled by Revolut using high frequency data based on the spending habits of its users and adjusted for the wider population, as well as for the increasing numbers signing up to Revolut's services during the year.

Revolut now has 1.2 million customers in Ireland.