1 in 10 planning cross-border Christmas shopping trip

Leitrim Observer reporter

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For those planning on doing some Christmas shopping outside the state, clothes, alcohol, food and electrical good are among the items most likely to be on their shopping lists.

For those planning on doing some Christmas shopping outside the state, clothes, alcohol, food and electrical good are among the items most likely to be on their shopping lists.

With children across Ireland writing their Christmas wish lists and many of us counting down the days to the festive season, the AA has found that a sizeable percentage of Irish consumers are planning to do at least part of their shopping across the border.

In response to a recent AA Ireland survey of over 3,000 of its insurance customers and members, just over 1 in 10 Irish respondents (10.81%) stated that they intend on making a trip to Northern Ireland for the purpose of Christmas shopping in the coming weeks. This figure represents a slight increase on 2017, where the organisation found that 9.14% of consumers were planning a cross-border shopping trip.

Meanwhile, the survey also found that some Irish people are planning on going further afield in the hopes of making savings on their Christmas essentials. 4.37% of those surveyed stated that they will make a trip to Great Britain, broadly similar to the level seen in 2017, with 3.12% planning a trip to continental Europe – down slightly from 3.46% in 2017.

“In a nutshell these findings confirm that Irish consumers are hoping to take full advantage of a weak sterling and make some savings on their Christmas expenses in 2018, despite the additional costs of transportation and potentially an overnight stay which may have to be factored in. As a side-effect of this, those living near the border or indeed those planning a shopping trip themselves can expect traffic levels to be a little busier in the coming weeks,” Conor Faughnan, AA Director of Consumer Affairs stated. 

“With this in mind, those driving in the area would be wise to allow some extra distance between them and other road users as there may be a significant number of drivers in the area who are less familiar with the roads, particularly at weekends. For those planning a cross-border trip, it’s also important to note that fuel costs in Northern Ireland tend to be significantly higher so it’s always advisable to have a full tank before you start your journey.

“Secondly, it’s important to remember that breakdowns can still happen and it’s important to consider who you can call for assistance if your car lets you down while up north as your local go-to option may no longer be a position to help. While AA Members are automatically covered for a breakdown in Northern Ireland or the UK not all providers offer the same benefit."

In total, the survey found that just under 35.69% of people will leave the State in the coming weeks ahead of Christmas, with the vast majority of these doing so in order to carry out Christmas shopping. Meanwhile, a further 7.85% of respondents stated that while they were still undecided they had not ruled out a Christmas shopping trip outside of the state.

For those planning on doing some Christmas shopping outside the state, clothes, alcohol, food and electrical good are among the items most likely to be on their shopping lists.

Of those who stated they will be shopping abroad, 59.74% stated that they would be buying clothes, while 37.50% intend on buying perfume or make-up, with electrical goods (20.35%) and consumer electronics (14.24%) also appearing on most lists. Outside of gift shopping, 37.79% of those shopping abroad intend on picking up alcohol, while 31.69% will be buying food and groceries.

Faughnan added "Finally, whether you're shopping in the Republic or elsewhere, we would encourage people to be careful about leaving their car unattended while the boot is filled with presents or groceries. Opportunistic thieves are likely to be checking car parks over the coming weeks for unlocked vehicles so always double-check that you have locked your car before you leave it.”