The past 16 months in a global pandemic, has led to great upheaval and profound changes in human behaviour in Ireland and around the world. Navigating change is always a challenge, but especially at a time like this.
Permanent tsb and Kantar’s Reflecting Ireland research series looks at how consumer behaviour is changing in Ireland. This first report focuses on consumer savings trends, intended consumer spending over the coming months and macro-economic consumer sentiment. Our research reveals much about how Irish people are feeling and behaving. Decision-making during times of uncertainty is more challenging than in normal times, which is why we have also partnered with Behavioural Scientist Claire Cogan of BehaviourWise to understand what may be driving the behavioural trends identified in this research and how the pandemic is influencing our financial decision-making.
Our research identified that our top savings goals reflect a balance between protecting our future financial wellbeing and improving our day-to-day lives. Irish consumers tend to save for “a rainy day” – nearly half (49%) express this as their motivation for saving. It seems that as a nation, we like to “keep something in reserve”, as we never know what may be lying around the corner.
There is evidence that we are looking forward to releasing the purse strings to some degree but only circa a quarter of new savings (27%) will be spent over the next few months.
This reflects pent up demand, however with the remainder being held aside, have consumer spending habits been broken? This conservative level of spending may be a concern for local businesses in our communities. It does raise the question whether or not businesses need to do more to attract consumers and encourage spending in the coming months.
Economists hope for a splurge in spending over the coming months to fuel economic growth but given the level of uncertainty that still prevails, our findings reflect a cautious approach; a desire to treat ourselves in the short-term, balanced against a desire to build financial security over the medium-term.
Examining consumer sentiment at a broad level, we are quite polarised about the Macro economy – a more or less equal number believe it will improve (37%), compared to 36% who feel it will disimprove. We are in neutral territory in terms of our future economic outlook.
Taking a step back from the micro and macro financial situation, we also sought to find out how people are feeling emotionally. Our personal mood in 2021 is also quite polarised – over half (53%) express positive sentiments compared to 47% being more downbeat.
You can check out our full #ReflectingIreland Report here.
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