Covid Concern Fuels Consumer Jitters

19 Jan 2021 | 11.58 am

Covid Concern Fuels Consumer Jitters

Irish consumers are the most anxious in Europe, says Deloitte

19 Jan 2021 | 11.58 am

Irish consumers are the most anxious in Europe for the second time in three months, according to research published by Deloitte.

Deloitte’s ‘State of the Consumer Tracker’ is a monthly survey measuring consumer attitudes towards personal wellbeing, financial concerns, travel and hospitality, transport and retail. The latest report is based on a survey of 1,000 Irish consumers carried out between December 30 and January 6 last.

According to the Deloitte survey, confidence in shopping in-store fell by one-eighth, while anxiety levels among Irish consumers increased by 15%. Irish consumer concern around returning to the workplace also grew over Christmas and into 2021, although concern regarding job losses dropped slightly.

One in three consumers said that they would feel safe going to a restaurant, while just over half (52% — down 12%) of shoppers feel confident shopping in-store.

Cause for Concern

The chief cause of concern among consumers is Covid-19 (84%), while four in ten cited financial stress and almost three in ten cited their job or employment situation.

Consumers indicated intentions to spend less on utilities, groceries and discretionary items following the Christmas period.

Deloitte’s survey also recorded a decrease of 19% in consumers’ intent to spend on travel and a decrease of 11% in those planning to travel for leisure over the next three months. Some 47% do not think it is safe to stay at a hotel right now, up 3% on the previous wave.

Commenting on the findings, Daniel Murray, partner and head of consumer at Deloitte Ireland, said that Irish consumers are again the most anxious in Europe, having occupied a similar position in October 2020.

“However, looking at the national picture against that of our European neighbours, it appears that the supports introduced by the government have cushioned the blow to a certain extent,” Murray continued.

“This could mean that spending will start to pick up again once the worst of this new wave of Covid-19 has passed, as it did following the first two waves in 2020, which would be welcome news to retailers.

“As footfall and sales suffer and many retailers feel the impact of supply chain delays as a result of Brexit, businesses must ensure that they continue to engage with their customer base where they can reach them – online.

“With general anxiety levels rising, the latest research shows that 51% of consumers are more concerned about the security of their personal data now that they are shopping more online. Businesses must prioritise their digital strategies.

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