KBC Bank sees in-store spend bounce as level five restrictions end


Customers return to in-store spending following a surge in online spend in October and November

  • New data shows that on the first week of reopening non-essential retailers, the value of face to face card transactions jumped 15%
  • Value of transactions on the first full weekend of trade were up 10% from the same weekend in 2019
  • Online spend for this week was down 20% from the previous week, with a 25% decrease in value
  • Decrease in online spend follows the surge seen during lockdown, where net card spend was up 8.8% YOY
  • In October and November, volume and value of online shopping transactions increased  57% and 60% respectively
  • 19% YOY increase in customers using KBC’s leading range of digital and mobile wallets (Apple Pay™, Google Pay™, Fitbit Pay™, Garmin Pay™ and Wena Pay™).

KBC Bank, Ireland’s digital first bank, recorded a jump in face to face spend as non-essential retailers reopened for trade on the first day of December. Overall, the value of card-present transactions jumped 15% year-on-year from the same week in 2019, as consumers took advantage of in-store shopping opportunities. The first full weekend of trade since restrictions were lifted also saw a boost in spend, with the value of card-present transactions up over 10% on the same weekend YOY. 

In comparison, online spending by customers for the same week was down 20% from the previous week as restrictions lifted. There was also a 25% decrease in the value of online spending compared to the previous week. However, Black Friday demand the week prior may have impacted this somewhat, as KBC recorded a 8.9% jump in online spending during Black Friday sales.

The decrease in online spending follows the surge recorded in the six-week period during level five restrictions. Overall, in October and November, KBC saw the volume and value of online shopping transactions increase by 57% and 60% year-on-year, respectively. Card spend grew 8.8% compared to the same period in 2019.
The spending patterns of KBC customers during lockdown reflects a change in behaviour as a result of the pandemic, with a clear shift to online shopping. However, as non-essential retailers reopened, new data highlights that customers are returning to in-store shopping and using contactless payments.

Commenting Fergal O’Riagain, Director of Daily Banking Products at KBC Bank Ireland said, “As our payments data shows, there is absolutely no doubt that Covid-19 is leading to a step change in people’s spending and banking behaviour and the trend toward digital has been accelerated. Traditionally, the months up to Christmas, which includes October and November, are big spending months, so given that this year everything looked a little different, it is not unsurprising to see the change in spending behaviour with a distinct move to online spending. However it is refreshing to see that customers have again returned to spending physically in-store and we have noticed a rise in the value of spend by customers this year for the first full week of trade as restrictions eased on Dec 1st.

“We also noticed a rise in the use of digital wallets up 18% from the same period in 2019, with Apple Pay and Google Pay dominating digital wallet spend. This trend looks set to continue as consumer’s embrace new ways to pay, and as bank that prides itself on digital innovation, we are well positioned to support consumers in making the transition,” added O’Riagain.

Customers now demand fast, digital, hassle-free, products and services and they are turning to KBC’s market-leading digital platforms to carry out their day-to-day banking and insurance. KBC’s daily fee-free banking and simple current account set up process on the KBC app remains one of the most competitive and easy to use in the market.

KBC is currently the only bank in the Irish market to offer digital wallets from five of the world’s leading technology companies (Apple Pay™, Google Pay™, Fitbit Pay™, Garmin Pay™ and Wena Pay™). Contactless payments made through KBC’s digital wallets are free, and not subject to the current €50.00 limit on transactions made with a physical debit or credit card.