Irish consumer sentiment improved for the third month in a row in January, research shows.
However, according to the latest KBC Bank Ireland Consumer Sentiment Index the latest reading is still substantially lower than it was a year ago and also notably below the average of the past five years.
"While Brexit-related fears have eased somewhat in recent months, the January reading suggests that consumers remain nervous about the general economic outlook and their own financial prospects," said Austin Hughes, chief economist, KBC Bank Ireland.
The research showed that the improvement between December and January was more pronounced among older consumers and among those based in Dublin (as had been the case in the two previous months).
These groups had also seen a larger deterioration in sentiment than others in the period since the UK referendum on EU membership in mid-2016.
"The recent improvement in sentiment was also less marked among those consumers who reported they were making ends meet with difficulty," he said.
"So, the very recent trend looks to be a relief rally rather than a fundamental rethink of their circumstances by Irish consumers that might suggest a broadly based improvement is now being felt."
Although the index doesn’t exhibit a consistent seasonal pattern, there is a clear ‘January’ effect in the data- the January sentiment index has been the highest of the year in three of the past four years.
© 2020 Checkout – your source for the latest Irish retail news. Article by Donna Ahern. Click subscribe to sign up for the Checkout print edition.