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Deloitte launches its bi-weekly tracker of Irish consumer attitudes

Nearly half of Irish consumers delaying large purchases – Deloitte study

44% of Irish consumers have stated they are delaying expenditure on large purchases according to the Deloitte State of the Consumer Tracker, a longitudinal study exploring the consumer mind-set in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is the first of a new bi-weekly survey which will track Irish consumers’ attitudes towards personal wellbeing, financial concerns, travel and hospitality, transport and retail. The results are based on a survey of 1,000 consumers, which took place between 12 and 16 May, just a few days before the country entered the first phase of the lifting of restrictions put in place in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.


The results published today provide us with a snapshot of Irish consumer attitudes at a critical point in time for industry,

said Harry Goddard, CEO, Deloitte Ireland.

Businesses have been working on addressing the short term and immediate impacts of the crisis, but they will now also need to evaluate how changing consumer attitudes and behaviours will impact delivery of services and how they engage with customers on a longer term basis also. Customer needs have changed, and will not revert back to what they were. Gaining and keeping consumers’ trust will be more vital than ever now. The expectations that customers place on the companies they deal with will be heightened with regard to digital and physical safety. Consumer-facing organisations should start to consider what success looks like in this post-pandemic world, and work on a clear vision on how their businesses will thrive in the long term.

Health and financial concerns

Concern for personal well-being remains high relative to financial concerns, and informs consumers’ willingness to return to pre-pandemic activities. 50% of Irish consumers surveyed reported concern for their physical wellbeing, with 28% stating that they were more anxious than in the previous week. 65% said they were concerned about the health of their family and friends.

Regarding financial stability, more than one third (36%) expressed concern about losing their job, while almost a quarter (24%) were concerned they would not be able to make upcoming payments and nearly half (44%) stated they were delaying large purchases.

When asked how safe they would feel undertaking a range of activities, only 16% said they would feel safe taking a flight, with almost a quarter (23%) saying they would feel safe staying in a hotel.

Retail

More encouragingly, 43% reported they would feel safe going to the store. However, 39% said they were keeping their homes stocked with more than they immediately need.

Almost half (46%) said they were ok with spending more for convenience to get what they needed, while 50% reported buying more locally-sourced products even if they cost a little more. Over half (54%) prefer to buy store brand products over name brands because they are either less expensive (32%) or generally effective (22%).
Irish consumers are planning to focus their spending on less discretionary items over the next four weeks compared to the last four weeks, with 37% of people intending to spend more on groceries over that timeframe.

In terms of purchase channel, 61% of people still plan to do their grocery shopping in-store over the next four weeks with 25% of consumers indicating they have not used a grocery delivery service.

Transport

More than half of respondents (58%) reported that they were now planning to keep their current vehicle longer than they had expected, with 32% stating that they were putting off maintenance for their vehicles and 14% agreeing that, if available, they would prefer to buy their next vehicle online. Despite the reduction in travel resulting from Covid-19 restrictions, 74% indicated that the idea of owning a vehicle was valuable to them.

Almost two thirds (64%) stated that they were planning to limit their use of public transit over the next three months, with more than half (54%) planning to limit their use of ride-hailing over the same period.

Travel

Consumers were also asked about their likelihood of undertaking leisure travel over the next three months. In positive news for the domestic travel and hospitality sectors, the most likely activity to be undertaken during this period was staying in a hotel (21% indicated that they were likely to do this), followed by renting a holiday home or apartment (17%), taking a rail trip (16%) and taking a domestic flight (8%).

16% stated that they were likely to take an international flight in the next three months, followed by renting a car (9%) while only 4% indicated that they were likely to take a cruise.

The results of the survey show that consumers are facing significant financial insecurity in the immediate term, with many worried about being able to make ends meet, reducing their discretionary spending and putting off large purchases,
said Daniel Murray, Partner and Head of Consumer at Deloittte.

However the medium-term outlook is encouraging as we see that some are planning to resume leisure travel within the next three months.

As restrictions gradually begin to ease over the coming weeks and months, consumers will begin to regain some semblance of social interaction. Business leaders will need to balance this with the fact that consumers will still be extremely cautious for some time, and expect the highest standards of health and safety to be in place while interacting with businesses, be that on site or remotely. Accelerating investments in digital channels and tools will be important, but so too will be ensuring human interaction is maintained in the critical moments that matter. Having the correct customer engagement strategies should now be a top priority for consumer-facing organisations.

For Further Information Please Contact
Aoibheann O’Sullivan
Murray
01 498 0300
087 6291453
aosullivan@murrayconsultants.ie

Claire Quinn
Deloitte
01 417 2356
087 9777783
cquinn@deloitte.ie

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 15 countries (targeting 1,000 respondents per country/wave). The survey field period was 12-16 May, 2020.

About Deloitte

At Deloitte, we make an impact that matters for our clients, our people, our profession, and in the wider society by delivering the solutions and insights they need to address their most complex business challenges.

As the largest global professional services and consulting network, with over 312,000 professionals in more than 150 countries, we bring world-class capabilities and high-quality services to our clients.

In Ireland, Deloitte has approximately 3,000 people providing audit, tax, consulting, and financial advisory services to public and private clients spanning multiple industries. Our people have the leadership capabilities, experience and insight to collaborate with clients so they can move forward with confidence.

In this press release references to Deloitte are references to Deloitte Ireland LLP. The information contained in this press release is correct at the time of going to press. Deloitte Ireland LLP is the Ireland affiliate of Deloitte NSE LLP, a member firm of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, a UK private company limited by guarantee (“DTTL”). DTTL and each of its member firms are legally separate and independent entities. DTTL and Deloitte NSE LLP do not provide services to clients. Please see www.deloitte.com/about to learn more about our global network of member firms.

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