Figures by the online banking platform based on the habits of its 1.5m Irish users showed that two thirds of the festive shopping was done physically, despite the concerns around Covid transmission, with the other 35% carried out online.
Food shops did well, with the spend in butchers rising 24%, in supermarkets increasing 9% and in off-licences surging 47%.
Meanwhile, spending at jewellers rose 65% compared to November, book stores saw a 35% increase in business and department stores and toy shops benefited from spending that was up more than 25%.
Clothing stores also did well, with spending up 14% month on month, although men’s clothing spend rose 32%.
There was also a 28% increase in spending at hairdressers and barbers and a 3% rise in spending on taxis, while cinemas saw an uptick in spending of around 22% compared to November.
Spending in bars rose 8% in December, despite the curbs put on socialising by Government Covid-19 restrictions, but coincided with a massive jump in the amount spent on testing laboratories during the month.
Spending on Covid testing by Revolut users leapt 159% in the weeks up to and over Christmas, with the average user spending €62.91 on tests.
The pandemic related restrictions also hit travel, with spend on airlines, travel agents and cruises down by between a quarter and a third compared to November.
Fast food outlets saw a modest uptick in business, up 3% on November, but instead of enjoying their traditional pre-Christmas boom, spending in restaurants remained flat.
A separate analysis of debit and credit card trends for December by Bank of Ireland showed spending in the sector dipping slightly when compared to the previous month.
There was a reduction of 5% in total social spending in December, the report concludes, with spending in pubs and restaurants down 5% and 3% respectively.
On the retail side, Bank of Ireland’s report recorded a spike in the purchase of sporting goods – which was up 18% – spending on groceries was up 12%, and clothing, which was up 11%.
Florists recorded an 84% monthly spending hike, Bank of Ireland’s data showed.
Jewellery shops also recorded an 84% increase amid gift buying for the holiday season.
“There are encouraging signs across parts of the retail economy, and the fact that hospitality outlets were at least able to trade until 8pm daily ensured many were in a better place than in December 2020,” John O’Beirne, Director of Business Banking at Bank of Ireland said.
“The spending data shows that the public still preferred to do their December shopping in person (64%), rather than online (36%) during the Christmas period, although the annual ‘trip to town’ or ‘festive catch-up’ was probably postponed by many,” he said.