The Deloitte Consumer Tracker

Consumer Sentiment Surges, Propelling Spending Power

Irish consumer sentiment continues to improve. The latest Deloitte Ireland Consumer Tracker shows confidence increased by between 2 and 8 percentage points across all categories in the last six months while negative sentiment declined.

The strongest gains were in household disposable income, career opportunities and job security.

In line with an improved level of disposable income, there are signs that consumers are loosening the purse strings. In the last six months, expenditure on furniture, homeware and expensive electrical items increased. Irish adults also spent more on clothing and footwear and the steady upward trend in spending on restaurants, hotels and going out continued.

The latest figures suggest that people are becoming better at managing their personal finances. Just under half of all Irish adults (49%) are regular savers and more people are paying off their credit card bills each month.

It appears that renovating existing housing structures is more popular than buying houses. The latest figures show an increase of 8% in the number of Irish adults planning to add an extension or redecorate their home in the coming months. Consumers also plan to spend more on furniture/homeware and major household appliances however this may be related to the Christmas period and January sales.

Looking further ahead, online and mobile technology continue to influence consumer behaviour. Successful retailers are developing services to take advantage of this trend; however, while shoppers want real-time, relevant, and personalised information and offers, they are more likely to purchase from retailers that they believe protect their personal information. Trust, transparency, and protecting customer information will be critical in retaining loyalty as mobile retailing becomes the norm.

Key findings

Confidence in household disposable income saw an 8% lift (from 19% to 27%) while those feeling less confident declined from 42% to 29% in latest figures

  • Over a quarter of Irish adults report improvement in their levels of debt
  • One third of Irish adults make low level purchases on mobile devices
  • 49% people are saving – financial prudence is continuing, people are saving, prompt payment of credit cards etc.
  • Household income: 27% more optimistic, 29% less optimistic
  • Job opportunities/career progression: 27% more optimistic; 19% less optimistic
  • Level of debt: 26% more optimistic: 21% less optimistic
  • Job security: 24% more optimistic; 17% less optimistic
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Online trends

The research also examined online shopping behaviour during the festive season. Over four in ten people were more likely to purchase books, DVDs and music online at Christmas

With regards to mobile activity specifically, 52% of respondents indicated they check their bank balance on mobile devices and 41% make transfers.

One third (32%) of respondents feel comfortable making low level purchases such as cinema tickets and taxis on their mobile devices, while for high level items such as electrical goods, flights or holidays, this figure drops to 23%.

Further findings on online purchasing behaviour included:

  • 61% of respondents browse online before completing a purchase online.

- Slightly more (62%) of the 45-54 age group browse online before purchasing than any other age group and more women (63%) browse online before purchasing than men (60%).

  • 55% of people pay bills online.

- 64% of those aged over 55 reporting that they pay bills online — a higher percentage than in any other age group.

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