Inflation concerns as everyday prices of groceries pinch wallets

76% of Irish people are concerned that the prices of everyday purchases will go up – down 2% on last month but remains highest of 24 countries surveyed by Deloitte.

Irish consumer sentiment is on the up, but inflation remains a key concern, a new Deloitte survey shows.

More than three in four respondents are concerned that the prices of everyday purchases will increase – 2% down on last month – but the highest of 24 countries surveyed.

“It marks a consistently high level of concern about inflation in the minds of Irish consumers”

Compiled by Deloitte’s Global State of the Consumer Tracker of 20,000 consumers, the Irish survey found that six-in-ten Irish consumers have no extra money left at the end of the month and half of all Irish respondents feel their financial situation has worsened over the past year.

However, a quarter of respondents said they expect their situation to improve in the next 12 months.

Irish consumers are concerned

“The results from the Deloitte Consumer tracker remind us of the importance of ongoing and consistent surveying of consumer attitudes,” said Daniel Murray, partner and head of Consumer at Deloitte Ireland.

“Once again, this month we see that Irish consumers are the most concerned about inflation, with 76% concerned about the prices of everyday purchases. While this is the same percentage as Australia, it marks a consistently high level of concern about inflation in the minds of Irish consumers.

“Those countries that were least concerned were China (37%), Saudi Arabia (52%), Brazil and India (53%).  80% of Irish consumers expect prices to rise in restaurants (verses 72% average across the 24 countries) and 78% expect to see further rises in household utilities (verses 70% average across the 24 countries) The number who expect fuel to increase increased 4% to 68%.”

“We are also seeing some interesting demand increases which will require continued and careful contingency planning to avoid potential issues.

“40% of Irish respondents said they planned to take an international flight in the next three months. This is an increase of 3% on this time last year. We also expect to see similar level of rail travel to this time last year with 34% of respondents expected to travel by train, rather than by rental car (13%). 51% of respondents expect to stay in a hotel in the next three months, which is the same level of demand to last year. Interestingly, just 25% would choose to book private accommodation, such as Airbnb.”

Looking at trends in grocery sales, Murray noted: “In the meat category, own brand and low cost have seen a quarter-on-quarter decline of -6% and -3% respectively, while purchasing premium meats has not declined at all.

“This may suggest that Irish consumers are once again focusing on the food quality when selecting their meats in particular. Having said that, only 23% have bought several ‘nice to have’ items which shows caution remains when it comes to their purchases.”

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