Irish consumers most anxious in Europe, survey finds

Confidence in shopping in store falls as third wave of Covid-19 bites

As non-essential retail was again forced to shut amid rising Covid-19 case numbers, 51 per cent of consumers reported being more concerned about the security of their personal data now that they are shopping more online

As non-essential retail was again forced to shut amid rising Covid-19 case numbers, 51 per cent of consumers reported being more concerned about the security of their personal data now that they are shopping more online

 

Irish consumers are now the most anxious in Europe and confidence in shopping in stores has fallen significantly in recent weeks as a third wave of Covid-19 has swept across Europe, new research has revealed.

A new State of the Consumer Tracker from Deloitte Ireland suggests that confidence in shopping in-store has fallen by 12 per cent while anxiety levels have climbed by 15 per cent compared to research conducted four weeks earlier.

Stress

The tracker looks at consumer attitudes towards personal wellbeing, financial concerns, travel and hospitality, transport and retail.

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.

The results are based on a survey of 1,000 consumers in each of 19 countries and the most recent data was gathered between December 30th and January 6th following a surge in Covid-19 case numbers and the country’s return to full Level 5 restrictions.

Consumers’ concern for their personal physical wellbeing decreased by 1 per cent to 52 per cent while concern for the health of their family members increased by 3 per cent to 66 per cent. Concern around returning to the workplace was up by 5 per cent to 37 per cent with concern about job loss down slightly by 1 per cent to 31 per cent.

Confidence in engaging in person-to-person services fell by 9 per cent to 47 per cent while 32 per cent said they would feel safe going to a restaurant, down 8 per cent since the last wave of research, with confidence in shopping in-store falling by 12 per cent to 52 per cent.

There was a fall of 8 per cent in consumers’ intention to spend on utilities and a 26 per cent decrease in spending intention on groceries following the Christmas period. A decrease of 42 per cent was also recorded in spending intention on discretionary items such as clothing and footwear, down with similar declines in take-aways and alcohol.

Intent

As non-essential retail was again forced to shut amid rising Covid-19 case numbers, 51 per cent of consumers reported being more concerned about the security of their personal data now that they are shopping more online.

There was a decrease of 19 per cent in consumers’ intent 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 6 per cent while confidence in air travel was down by 5 per cent.

All told 47 per cent do not think it is safe to stay at a hotel right now, up 3 per cent on the previous wave.

“With spending intent down across the board following heightened Christmas spending, the introduction of a new lockdown and the banning of click-and-collect services, retailers and consumers face a tough few weeks ahead,” said Deloitte’s head of consumer Daniel Murray.

“While Irish consumers are once again the most anxious in Europe – having last held the position back in October 2020 – the research shows us that this is driven in the most part by health concerns, with Ireland scoring comparatively well in terms of financial concerns.”