According to the April reading of the KBC Bank Ireland Consumer Sentiment Index, Irish consumer sentiment showed the sharpest monthly decline in the surveys twenty four year history.
Since the inception of the sentiment survey, last month reflects a sudden change to the financial circumstances of many Irish households, as well as the broader weakening of the outlook for activity, employment and incomes.
"The fall in Irish consumer confidence in the month of April alone is equivalent to about half the decline seen in sentiment through the period when the Irish economy moved from boom to bust," said Austin Hughes, chief economist, KBC Bank Ireland who conducted the analysis.
"Judged in terms of typical monthly fluctuations in the sentiment index, the scale of change recorded between March and April might be expected with a frequency of around every couple of hundred years," he added.
Hughes noted that the April reading suggests a sea-change in Irish consumers’ thinking about their economic circumstances in response to the coronavirus.
Weaker Conditions Envisaged
The details of the sentiment survey underline the scale of difficulties now being felt; in terms of the Irish economy, nine out ten consumers envisage weaker conditions through the next twelve months, while three out of four see higher unemployment over that same period.
Only one in twenty of the respondents said that they currently see their financial circumstances on an improving trend, compared to one in five at the start of 2020, the research showed.
One in two of those surveyed said that they expect a further weakening in their finances over the next twelve months.
© 2020 Checkout – your source for the latest Irish retail news. Article by Donna Ahern. Click sign-up to subscribe to Checkout.