Big increase in cross-border Christmas shopping

Many shoppers from the Republic of Ireland  are expected to head north of the border this Christmas.

Many shoppers from the Republic of Ireland are expected to head north of the border this Christmas.

The weakness of sterling is probably the key factor behind an upsurge in shoppers from the Republic of Ireland planning a trip to Northern Ireland or Great Britain in advance of Christmas, according to the AA.

In an AA Membership poll of over 9,000 people, over a quarter of those surveyed (25.41%) said they intended on leaving the country between now and Christmas to shop.

Northern Ireland and GB were the top destinations with 12.07% planning a trip north of the border and a further 5.33% intending to visit Great Britain.

These figures represent a significant increase on last year. In a November 2015 AA poll of over 5,500 people, 7.3% stated they were planning a trip to Northern Ireland.

“It is very likely that the currency is the key factor but it’s probably not the only one,” said director of consumer affairs Conor Faughnan.

“There is also a bit more confidence around this year. Traffic volumes are up, employment is up and people are spending more generally. In AA Roadwatch we are expecting cities and city car parks to be very busy in December.”

Clothes top the wish list for those shopping abroad this year with 61.25% of those surveyed planning on buying clothing while shopping outside the Republic, followed by alcohol (35.81%) and food/groceries (33.89%).

Perfume/make up was next on people’s lists, (32.59%) followed by toys (25.46%). Other items include electrical goods, consumer electronics, DVDs, video games and books.

While the percentages of those planning to buy food and groceries abroad were similar between men and women, men are 6% more likely to buy alcohol with 38.97% of men planning to stock up during their trip this year compared to 32.75% of women.