Irish consumer sentiment fell marginally in November as conflicting factors made for a more uncertain outlook.
According to the latest Credit Union Consumer Sentiment Index, budget support measures and comparatively favourable developments in the Irish economy combined with mild weather may have taken some of the immediate sting out of cost-of-living pressures.
However, rapidly increasing concerns about job losses in the tech sector and a related caution about spending plans have proven slightly more influential drivers of consumer thinking of late.
As a result, Irish consumer confidence was slightly lower in November than in October.
"Contrasting movements in various elements of the survey suggest Irish consumers may feel they have braced themselves for a difficult winter ahead but, in a very uncertain world, consumers are constantly adjusting their sense of what may lie ahead and amending their spending plans accordingly," said Austin Hughes, economist and author of the index.
Irish consumers were slightly less negative about the outlook for this economy in November, the research shows.
"This may owe something to the resilience of most economic indicators and, possibly, the particular strength of tax revenues," he highlighted.
In part, modestly reduced ‘macro’ worries may also reflect several recent commentaries that suggested the Irish economy might avoid recession in the coming year.
Plans For Christmas 2022
The Credit Union Consumer Sentiment survey for November contained a special question focussed on Irish consumers spending plans for Christmas 2022.
This also allows a comparison with spending intentions for the previous two years when similar questions were asked.
"It may be worth putting some context on the pressures Irish consumers now face. As noted previously, the marked pick-up in inflation in the past year represents a significant drain on Irish households spending power," Hughes added.
"With Irish inflation likely to be around 8% this year compared to 2.4% in 2021, consumers will find that their scope for discretionary spending at Christmas will be much reduced- on my rough calculations, higher inflation translates into a hit of about €3,000 to the average households buying power this year."