Irish consumers are now the most anxious in Europe for the second time in three months as confidence in shopping in-store dropped 12 per cent, a new Deloitte report indicates. Anxiety levels increased by 15 per cent among Irish consumers compared to research conducted four weeks earlier. The UK was next in line, followed by Italy and Poland.
The survey tracks Irish consumers’ attitudes towards personal wellbeing, financial concerns, travel and hospitality, transport and retail. The results are based on interviews with 1,000 people with comparisons made across 19 countries. The data was gathered after a surge in Covid-19 case numbers and the country’s return to full level five restrictions.
Consumers’ concern for their personal physical wellbeing was down by one point to 52 per cent, while concern for the health of their family members was up by three per cent to 66 per cent. Concern around returning to the workplace was up by five per cent to 37 per cent, with concern about job loss down marginally by one point to 31 per cent.
Confidence in using person-to-person services fell by nine per cent to 47 per cent. Some 32 per cent said they would feel safe going to a restaurant, down eight per cent since the last study, while confidence in shopping in-store dropped by 12 per cent to 52 per cent. As regards spending intentions, utilities were down by eight points and groceries by 26 per cent.
Spending intention on discretionary items such as clothing and footwear were down by 42 per cent, restaurants and takeaways by 40 per cent and alcohol 39 per cent. With non-essential retail again shut, 51 per cent of consumers reported being more concerned about the security of their personal data now that they are buying more items online.
When asked about the sources of their anxiety, 84 per cent of Irish consumers cited Covid-19, with 40 per cent citing financial stress and 28 per cent citing their job or employment situation. There was a fall of 19 per cent in consumers’ willingness to spend on travel and a decrease of 11 per cent in those planning to travel for leisure over the next three months.
Confidence in staying in hotels was down by six per cent while confidence in air travel was down by five per cent. Some 47 per cent consider it unsafe to stay at a hotel right now, up three per cent. Increases were recorded in those who plan to limit their use of public transport – up five points to 66 per cent – and taxi services up three points to 58 per cent.
There was a six point increase in those planning to buy their next car online, if available.