Concern over health and jobs increasing among Irish consumers – Deloitte report
Irish consumers most anxious in Europe for eighth consecutive week
Friday 16 October 2020 Irish consumers remain the most anxious in Europe for the eighth consecutive week, according to Deloitte Ireland’s State of the Consumer Tracker. This is the latest monthly survey, which tracks Irish consumers’ attitudes towards personal wellbeing, financial concerns, travel and hospitality, transport and retail.
52% of Irish consumers report that they are worried about their own physical wellbeing, up 2% on the previous wave of research, which was undertaken four weeks prior. Concern for their families’ health has also increased by 1% to 63%. Confidence levels in Ireland have remained low as Irish consumers are the most anxious in Europe for the third consecutive wave of research.
The results are based on a survey of 1,000 consumers across 19 countries respectively (1,000 Irish consumers). The most recent data was gathered between 29 September and 3 October, immediately following the implementation of Level 3 restrictions in counties Dublin and Donegal.
Speaking about the latest results, Daniel Murray, Partner and Head of Consumer at Deloitte Ireland, said,
As we approach eight months since Covid-19 reached Ireland, recent increases in case numbers and localised restrictions are causing a prolonged sense of uncertainty, which continues to negatively impact on consumer confidence. Notably, in this latest wave of research we have seen a 7% increase in concern over job loss. After a difficult year, Irish consumers’ resilience is again being put to the test.
Confidence, concerns & spending intent
Concern over job loss has increased significantly since the last wave, up 7% to 38%. Concern over making upcoming payments is at 23%, down 1% on the previous wave. Those planning to delay large purchases remains the same at 41%.
34% of respondents say they are concerned about returning to the workplace, a decrease of 2% since the previous wave of research. 43% say they feel safe going to restaurants (up 3%); just 22% feel safe flying, showing no change from the previous wave.
39% said that they were happy to spend more on convenience, a decrease of 5% since the previous wave. Meanwhile, 37% said they would purchase more from brands that have responded well to the crisis, compared to 46% in the previous wave.
While planned expenditure in restaurants has decreased by 5% since the previous wave, consumers’ confidence in visiting stores in person has increased by 5% to 64%.
People’s concern for their own wellbeing, as well as that of their families, has increased slightly, while fewer people are inclined to spend more on convenience and there has been no change to the level of those intending to delay large purchases, said Murray
All of this paints a picture of a fragile consumer base, reluctant to spend as uncertainty reigns. Businesses – many of whom have struggled to survive through the imposition of restrictions – must be cognisant of this when interacting with customers.
Notably, over a third of respondents are concerned about returning to the workplace. Employers must keep lines of communication open with their employees and ensure that every decision they take in this regard is done with the input and support of staff.
Travel, Hospitality & transport
65% of Irish consumers said they were planning to limit their use of public transport over the next three months, down 3% on the last wave of research. 58% of consumers are planning to keep their current vehicle longer than originally expected, which has not changed since the previous wave. Of that 58%, 38% say they are prioritising other expenditures while 29% say that their financial situation has changed. 22% say that they are delaying buying a new vehicle because they are planning to drive less often, with 16% citing working from home.
There is a slight decrease in consumers’ plans to spend on travel for leisure in the next three months, specifically in the areas of hotels (33% – a decrease of 2%), car rental (8% – a decrease of 2%), domestic flights (8% – a decrease of 1%) and private accommodation (21% – a decrease of 2%).
The travel and hospitality sectors have been particularly impacted by the pandemic and the associated restrictions,” said Murray. “While many businesses in these sectors will have experienced some relief during the summer months, as we head into winter the outlook is once again uncertain. The reduction of VAT for these sectors, announced as part of Budget 2021 earlier this week, should work to relieve some of the pressures they face.
About the State of the Consumer Tracker
This bi-weekly study is fielded using an online panel where consumers 18 years of age and older are invited to complete the survey (translated into local languages) via email. It is fielded in 18 countries (targeting 1,000 respondents per country/ wave). The survey field period was 29 September-03 August, 2020.
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