Consumer spending dropped sharply in January, according to debit card data from Bank of Ireland.

The decline follows a spike before and during the Christmas period.

According to the data, social spending fell dramatically as people stay at home during lockdown.

Whilst charitable donations rose steeply last December, the figures show these levels suffered at the beginning of 2021, with a 53% month on month drop.

Purchases of sporting apparel fell by 66% in January, even though the first month of the new year is often seen as the most popular time to focus on fitness.

The drop in spending can also be seen across retail, with a 70% drop in spending on clothes, while spending in hardware stores fell by over a third month-on-month and purchases of electronic and software items dropped by 24%.

The spending trends also reveal that people bought less alcohol in January, with spending on wine, beer and liquor down 57%.