Ennis Needs Economic Re-Boot as Spending Data Raises Alarms

May 28, 2024

Ennis 2040 Identifies Critical Trends Using AIB Spend Insights

Although Ennis ranks as the sixth biggest town in Ireland according to CSO data published last year, it is not performing to its potential.  That’s according to data obtained by Ennis 2040 DAC in its ongoing analysis of the economy of Ennis.

Leveraging insights from a comprehensive report conducted by AIB into the spending habits of its customers, Ennis 2040 DAC examined the spending patterns of AIB customers in Ennis Town which reveal some concerning trends.

The AIB spend insights are based on 160,000 transactions which occurred in the town in 2022.

In the Republic of Ireland, AIB card spending amounted to €19.9 billion. County Clare spent €360 million in total throughout the course of the year, or 1.8% of the total amount spent in stores nationwide. The amount spent in Ennis in 2022 was €173 million, or 0.9% of all in-store spending in the country.

The data shows Ennis spend is increasing at a slower rate than the national average – in 2022 the national spend increased by 17% while Ennis had a more modest increase of 11%.

Further analysis shows that Ennis’s economy leans heavily on County Clare residents, with €3 out of every €10 in the town originating from local pockets.    4 out of every 5 Euros spent in Ennis is by customers who are from the immediate hinterland of Ennis.  The data shows that Ennis is not competing well in the areas between it and its neighbouring cities. Tulla, Quin, Clarecastle and Kilrush comprise between 4% and 5% of total spend each while Shannon accounts for only 2% of spend.

County Clare accounted for 81% of total spend in Ennis with Counties Galway and Limerick the next highest spend in 2022 at 4% each of the overall spend. Ennis shows characteristics of a stop by town where tourists/commuters have a short break between cities, but don’t spend much on the stop-off with the average spend per visit of €72.

Ennis customers spend most of their money on Groceries 23%, Service Stations 12% and Miscellaneous Food and Convenience Stores at 5%. Restaurants and Hotels (4%), Pharmacies (3%) and Clothing (2%) were the next highest spends.

The data also shows that the night-time economy (purchases after 8pm) only accounts for  5% of overall transactions value.

Kevin Corrigan, COO, Ennis 2040 DAC, said “The fact that Ennis’ spend is increasing at a slower rate than the national average needs to be challenged. While the data from AIB is from 2022, there is no reason to believe anything has changed radically since with Ennis being dependent on local consumers rather than being buoyed by business and tourism spend.”

“Ennis needs more homes, more jobs, more retail diversity and more amenities so it punches at its weight nationally.  It needs the Ennis 2040 Strategy to succeed so key strategic sites in the town are developed for employment, enterprise, investment and residents,” he continued. “The town is one of the greatest in the country and, with the right measures, will benefit future generations who want to live and work locally. The data from the AIB Spend Insights echoes previous research conducted during the development of the Ennis 2040 Strategy and shows the burning need for the Ennis 2040 plan to be delivered as soon as possible.”