Consumer spending was down 6% in September compared with the previous month, according to new debit and credit card data from Bank of Ireland.

It shows that social spending dropped by 11%, as people returned to their regular routines following a busy August.

Spend in restaurants was down 18% in September, while fast food spend down 17% and pub spend 22% lower.

The accommodation industry which saw a spending boost in August, took a hit last month with hotel spend down 30%

Spend on entertainment also slowed in September, going up by just 2%, which contrasts with a 13% rise in August.

Bowling alleys were an outlier, enjoying a 78% spending surge during the month, but amusement parks were down 47%, cinemas down 36% and casinos down 5% compared to August.

In contrast, spending in the education sector was up 99% as students returned to school and college.

Spending in universities in particular rose strongly, with a 162% monthly rise recorded.

The data reveals that airline spend was up 20% in September.

However, card spending abroad dipped, down 6% in Portugal, 5% in the UK, 1% in Italy and 1% in Spain, which suggests people are booking trips for later in the year.

John O’Beirne, Director of Business Banking at Bank of Ireland said the data reveals that September was a slower month on the consumer front.

"The honeymoon period of spending after the lifting of restrictions appears to be normalising, in line with schools reopening and more businesses returning to the office," he said.

He said the data appears to indicate that those with more money and time are still looking to spend, while others are holding steady.

"When we look at the age breakdown, there was no change in spending from those over 65, which contrasted with the 18 - 25 cohort, which saw an 8% drop and the 26 - 35 cohort which saw a 7% drop," he added.