War and inflation jitters hit consumer spend in Ireland

Planned monthly spend among consumers in Ireland down by 10%, according to Deloitte report.

Deloitte’s latest State of the Consumer Tracker survey found that consumers in Ireland are 10% more concerned about inflation than the global average, with more than half (56%) worried about their level of savings.

The State of the Consumer Tracker is a monthly survey which tracks consumers’ attitudes towards personal wellbeing, financial concerns, travel and hospitality, transport, and retail.

“Fresh from the adverse impact of Covid-19 restrictions, consumer confidence in Ireland is yet again facing substantial headwinds”

The results are based on a survey of over 20,000 consumers across 23 countries (1,000 Irish consumers). The most recent data was gathered between and April 21st and April 27th last.

Contraction in discretionary spend

“The results of the latest tracker show the far-reaching consequences of the harrowing situation in Ukraine for many countries, including Ireland,” said Daniel Murray, Partner and Head of Consumer at Deloitte Ireland.

“Fresh from the adverse impact of Covid-19 restrictions, consumer confidence in Ireland is yet again facing substantial headwinds, this time in the form of rising inflation which is causing remarkable increases in the cost of everyday items.

“Consumers in Ireland are notably less optimistic about their finances than the global average, with significant increases in the cost of essentials inevitably leading to a contraction in planned discretionary spend.”

Following a brief plateau, consumer confidence in engaging with businesses and services in person has increased since the previous wave of research, conducted four weeks prior: 80% feel safe going to the store (up 6% since the previous wave); 80% feel safe engaging in one-to-one services such as hairdressing (up 5%); 78% feel safe going to a restaurant (up 7%); and 66% feel safe attending in-person events (up 10%).

Despite this, financial concerns among consumers in Ireland have remained constant or lessened only slightly since the previous wave: 26% are concerned about making upcoming payments (down 2%); 52% say they are delaying large purchases (no change); 44% are optimistic that their personal financial situation will improve within the next three years (up 1%); and 56% are concerned about their level of savings (no change).

In fact, of the 23 countries surveyed, Ireland is the third-most-concerned about inflation, with 85% of consumers in Ireland saying that they are concerned about inflation, compared to the global average of 75%.

Consequently, the average planned monthly spend among consumers in Ireland has decreased by a significant 10%, from €2,654 in the previous wave to €2,396. Consumers’ intent to spend on nondiscretionary items has decreased by 9%, while their intent to spend on discretionary items has decreased by 11%. Less discretionary items dominate spending intent, at 68% of consumers’ planned monthly spend.

Travel and hospitality

There is increased confidence among consumers in leisure travel and hospitality, with 79% feeling safe staying in a hotel (up 8%) and 64% feeling safe taking a flight (up 9%).

48% plan to take an international flight within the next three months (up 4%); 44% plan to travel by rail (up 5%); 40% plan to rent private holiday accommodation (up 3%) and 29% plan to take a domestic flight (up 3%).

58% of consumers say that they are likely to travel for business in the next three months, an increase of 4% on the previous wave.

War impact

Consumers in Ireland perceive a significant impact on costs from the ongoing war in Ukraine, with the most-impacted costs being those of petrol/diesel (93%) and utilities (93%), followed by groceries (91%).

82% of consumers are seeing an impact on the availability of certain grocery items, while 59% state that the war has impacted upon their plans to travel internationally.

John Kennedy
Award-winning ThinkBusiness.ie editor John Kennedy is one of Ireland's most experienced business and technology journalists.