Bus Journeys Surge Above Pre-Pandemic Levels in June
Dublin’s bustling streets saw an impressive surge in bus journeys this June, with figures rising to 9% higher than those of the same period in pre-pandemic 2019, according to data from the Central Statistics Office (CSO). Similarly, areas outside Dublin witnessed an even greater 11% increase in bus journeys compared to June 2019 levels.
On the rail and tram front, Luas journeys showed notable growth. While 2019 comparable data for rail travel was unavailable, the number of Luas journeys recorded in the week that began on 26 June soared by 7% compared to 2019 figures, and by a significant 25% compared to the same period in 2022.
Airport passenger data compiled by the CSO reveals that passenger numbers at Dublin Airport in June were equivalent to those recorded in the same month of 2019. However, they reflected a 14% uptick from the levels seen in June 2022. The number of passengers handled by Dublin Airport in June was exceeded 3.2 million, while the 2019 figure of approximately 3.2 million. Overall, Dublin Airport saw over 15.6 million passengers in the first half of 2023, slightly higher than the number of passengers during the first half of 2019.
In the regional airports, Cork Airport saw a 13% increase in passenger numbers compared to June 2022, with passenger numbers remaining consistent with those of June 2019. Shannon Airport, meanwhile, witnessed a notable 32% year-on-year increase in passenger numbers in June 2023, a figure which also represented a 10% increase compared to June 2019 levels.
The four airports – Dublin, Cork, Shannon, and Knock – collectively handled close to 3.8 million passengers in June 2023, marking a small increase from the nearly 3.74 million passengers in June 2019.
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From Clicks Back to Bricks
With the pandemic well in the rear-view mirror the Irish tradition of ‘going to town’ is alive and well, according to Penney’s recent ‘Pulse of the Nation’ study. 6 in 10 people indicated their preference to shop in-store, driven by factors such as store returns, sustainability, and local investment.
The study conducted in collaboration with Amárach Research, shows that Irish consumers want to spend time and money in their community, with 79% of people preferring to shop locally in their town when they can, while 86% believe that busy town centres are vital for the health of the local economy.
CSO data supports this shift from online shopping, indicating a return to pre-2020 patterns of consumer behaviour. While online purchases of clothing, footwear, and textiles skyrocketed to 66% of all sales in April 2020, these had declined to just 8% of total sales by February of the current year.
The results emphasise the importance of physical retail, with reasons for preferring in-store shopping including the opportunity to try on items (72%), the ease of returns (54%), avoiding delivery waits (47%), and the social experience of shopping with family or friends (32%).
Head of Penneys Ireland and Northern Ireland, Damien O’Neill, highlighted the critical role retail plays in supporting thriving communities, drawing footfall, and promoting employment. He cited the “Penneys ‘Halo Effect’” with examples of increased footfall at the new Tallaght store and Golden Island Shopping Centre in Athlone, demonstrating the positive impacts of retail on local communities.
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