Irish consumers now most anxious in Europe – Deloitte report
- Confidence in visiting shops and restaurants decreases
- Concerns over physical wellbeing and families’ health increase
- Increase in those delaying making large purchases
Friday 4 September 2020 Irish consumers are now the most anxious in Europe, according to Deloitte Ireland’s State of the Consumer Tracker. This is the latest bi-weekly survey, which tracks Irish consumers’ attitudes towards personal wellbeing, financial concerns, travel and hospitality, transport and retail.
50% of Irish consumers report that they are worried about their physical wellbeing, up slightly from the previous wave of research. Concern for their families’ health has also increased by 2% to 62%. Confidence levels in Ireland have dropped by 6% from the previous wave, falling behind France, Belgium and Spain since late July, making Irish consumers now the most anxious in Europe.
The results are based on a survey of 1,000 consumers across 18 countries respectively (1,000 Irish consumers). The most recent data was gathered between 18 and 22 August, immediately following the implementation of localised travel restrictions in counties Kildare, Laois and Offaly.
Speaking about the latest results, Daniel Murray, Partner and Head of Consumer at Deloitte Ireland, said,
Consumer confidence is extremely fragile and sensitive to changes – that is clearly evidenced by the results of this latest wave of the Consumer Tracker. While we saw overall confidence grow and remain steady as we emerged from the national lockdown throughout June and July, a recent uptick in Covid-19 case numbers and the implementation of localised restrictions across three counties have taken their toll on consumers in Ireland.
Confidence & spending intent
Confidence in visiting physical stores is at 59%, down 3% on the previous wave of research, which was conducted two weeks earlier at the beginning of August. 46% said they would purchase more from brands that have responded well to the crisis (up 4%), with 44% willing to spend more on convenience (down 2%).
40% reported feeling safe going to a restaurant, a decrease of 4% on the previous wave. Meanwhile planned expenditure in restaurants has decreased significantly from the previous wave falling by 13%.
Nearly a quarter (24%) are worried about making upcoming payments, up 4% on the last wave. 41% reported that they were delaying making large purchases, which is also an increase of 4%. Those worrying about job loss is at 31%, down from 32% in the previous wave.
Travel & Hospitality
Interestingly confidence in air travel has increased slightly, with 22% saying they would feel safe travelling on a plane, up 2% from the previous wave. Confidence in hotel accommodation has remained consistent at 40%.
However there has been an overall reduction in those planning to travel for leisure in the next three months. Less people overall are searching for travel deals at 16% - down 2% from the previous wave. 23% are hoping to avail of private holiday accommodation (down 3%); 35% intend to stay in a hotel (down 4%); and 14% intend to take an international flight (down 2%). There was an increase of 1% in those hoping to take a domestic flight, at 10%.
Irish consumers are likely to remain reliant upon their personal vehicles, as 68% say they are planning to limit their use of public transport over the next three months (up 5%). 58% say they are now planning to keep their current vehicle longer than originally expected, an increase of 2%. 14% would consider buying a vehicle online, a decrease of 3% from the previous wave.
The sudden, significant decrease in people’s confidence in visiting physical stores – and especially restaurants – underscores the need for businesses to focus on their digital offerings as strong, viable alternatives for customers. However attention to business premises must not slip – some customers will still wish to visit in person, while some may have no other choice due to issues with internet access, for example. It is vital that business owners continue to ensure their premises are operating in line with public health guidelines and are as safe and convenient as possible for visiting customers.
The increase in those delaying large purchases and concern about job loss will be felt across all sectors – a disappointment to businesses who were negatively impacted by having to close or operate under extreme limitations during the lockdown. However, we note that consumer confidence is sensitive to change, and this applies in a positive sense also – businesses who succeed in winning and maintaining their customers’ trust will reap the rewards once confidence starts to grow once more.
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 18-22 August, 2020.
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