Cross-border shopping trips are driven largely by economic factors, such as price differentials and exchange rate fluctuations. Distance from the border also matters with households from the Border counties being much more frequent cross-border shoppers than those living further afield. The graph below shows the percentage of Irish-registered cars in a selection of border-located shopping centre car parks in Northern Ireland as an indicator of cross-border shopping activity.
% occupancy by cars with irish registration
Occupancy of Irish registered cars in border shopping centres
* 2016 Q4 result was extrapolated from limited data
The end of 2008 saw the highest percentage of Irish registered cars (67%) in shopping in Centres in Northern Ireland. Every Christmas season since has seen an uplift in the numbers of Irish registered cars followed by sharp declines in Q2 and Q3. The most recent peak in cross border shopping has been driven primarily by the dip in sterling value. The share of Irish-registered cars in border shopping centres has risen from 33% in Q1 2016 to 43% in Q2, even before the result of the Brexit referendum was known. With the subsequent 10-12 per cent rise in the value of the Euro against Sterling, Q3 2016 has seen a further increase to 56% in flows of cross-border shoppers.