Irish shoppers second most anxious in Europe, consumer tracker shows

Just 30% of people surveyed comfortable with going to a restaurant

People are feeling increasingly confident about visiting shops and engaging in face-to-face services, but Irish consumers remain among the most anxious in Europe, new research has found.

The latest monthly consumer tracker by Deloitte Ireland suggests confidence in shopping in-store has grown by seven per cent in a month, to 59 per cent of people, while the proportion of people feeling confident about going to the hairdressers increased by nine per cent. Irish people were the second most anxious cohort in Europe after Italians.

While 48 per cent of people said they would feel safe going to an in-person service such as a hairdresser, just 30 per cent would be as keen to go to a restaurant and one third of respondents said they would feel safe staying in a hotel. The proportion of people happy to catch a flight rose slightly, but remained low at just 23 per cent.

The study looks at consumer attitudes towards sectors of society such as retail, hospitality, and travel, as well as concerns regarding personal wellbeing, finances, and the Covid-19 vaccine.

The Deloitte online survey involved 1,000 respondents and was conducted between February 3rd and March 3rd.

Hospitality and travel

Just over half of Irish consumers (53 per cent) worried for their own physical wellbeing, an increase of two per cent since the previous research was conducted four weeks beforehand.

Those concerned for the health of a family member, meanwhile, reduced by one per cent to 65 per cent of people.

When asked when they expected to be fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, two per cent they had already received two doses while another five per cent expected to be fully vaccinated within a month. A quarter of respondents expected to be fully vaccinated within six months, while 29 per cent believe they will have to wait more than six months. Eight per cent of people said they would choose not to receive a vaccine.

Pandemic habits will outlast the current restrictions, according to the responses, as 15 per cent said they will be less inclined to drive on a daily basis post Covid-19.

In a blow to hospitality, almost a third of people said they are likely to eat out at restaurants less, while 34 per cent said they will take fewer hotel breaks. Over a third of people said they will less frequently use public transport, take flights, or go to the gym.

More than half of those surveyed claimed they will continue to cook more at home post-pandemic compared to before the arrival of Covid-19.

Four in 10 adults will buy more fresh food, while 38 per cent will do more online shopping.

Head of consumer affairs at Deloitte, Daniel Murray, said the findings show consumer confidence is “hesitantly rising”.

Mr Murray issued a caveat: “Throughout the last year, however, we have observed just how sensitive consumer confidence is to shocks and setbacks.”