Concern For Cost Of Living Remains High, But Optimism Is Strong – EY

By Sarah O'Sullivan
Concern For Cost Of Living Remains High, But Optimism Is Strong – EY

Cost-of-living pressures continue to weigh on Irish consumers, though more reported being optimistic about the future than those who are not, according to a new survey by EY.

In its 14th edition, the EY Future Consumer Index found that, for 55% of global consumers and 62% of Irish consumers, the cost of living was their greatest concern.

This landed above concerns around geopolitical conflict (39%), climate change (38%), personal finances (36%) and the economy (33%).

From 23,000 respondents in 30 countries, the index found that Irish consumers were concerned about the cost of essentials, like energy (66%), groceries (61%) and healthcare (57%).

Looking to the future, Irish consumers hope to waste less food (92%), cook at home more (49%) and contain most food purchases to a weekly ‘big shop’ (48%).



In spite of these concerns, more Irish consumers are confident about the future (50%) than those who are not (23%).

Almost four times as many consumers are starting to feel in control of their finances than those who are not (57% vs 15%).

Speaking about these results, EY’s chief economist, Dr Loretta O’Sullivan, said, “It has been a tough period for many households, but there are grounds for cautious optimism about the future.

“We are already seeing energy providers reducing prices, a slower pace of food inflation, and the European Central Bank has just cut interest rates.

“These are welcome developments, as is the continuing strength of the labour market.


“Jobs are being created and wages are rising, signalling an uplift in consumers’ financial situations.

“This is reflected in our research findings, with 42% of respondents expecting to be better off in a year’s time – all of which gives us reason to believe that consumer spending growth is in prospect for Ireland.”

The Independent Consumer

The index also found the rise of the independent consumer, who is savvy with spending and keen to make his/her/their budget stretch.

The rise is particularly apparent online, as 60% of respondents reported using a discount code, 42% joined a retail rewards programme, and 35% signed up to mailing lists just to avail of discounts.

However, within the online space, cybersecurity remains a source of concern for consumers.


Just 17% of respondents said that they are willing to continue a membership, subscription or contact with an organisation experiencing a major cyberbreach.

Influencers are working to bridge the trust gap, with 39% of Irish consumers saying that they engage with them online.

Of those 39% of consumers, 67% say that they trust influencers, and 58% say that they make purchases based on influencers’ recommendations.

Speaking about these results, the consumer products and retail lead at EY Ireland, Colette Devey, said, “Brands and businesses must recognise the increasing weight that consumers place with influencers and their recommendations, however, this cannot come at the expense of overall trust in the brand or product.

“All of this is no mean feat, but the businesses that strike the balance will be the ones that succeed, as the independent consumer increasingly votes with its feet – or its thumb.”

Read More: Consumer Prices Rose By 2.6% In The 12 Months To May – CSO

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