Irish consumer sentiment slipped back marginally in March, as continuing cost-of-living pressures, further tech sector woes, and ongoing problems in the Irish housing market made consumers somewhat more nervous about their financial circumstances and caused them to scale back their spending plans.
According to the latest Credit Union Consumer Sentiment Index (in partnership with Core Research), in circumstances where a negative financial news flow dominated the survey period by quite a margin, the drop in consumer sentiment this month could probably be regarded as relatively modest.
“Moreover, given the improving trend in recent months in still difficult and uncertain conditions, a correction lower in consumer confidence is not at all surprising,” commented Austin Hughes, economist and author of the index.
The general sense of a more nervous Irish consumer is underlined by markedly more negative than positive responses to all the key elements of the survey.
As such, it suggests a clear ‘feel-bad’ factor on the part of Irish consumers.
However, the March reading is materially stronger than those seen last autumn or in previous survey troughs during the financial crisis or the pandemic.
“In that sense, it suggests Irish consumers remain conscious of the resilience of the Irish economy and are likely also aware of the significant fiscal capacity that exists to at least partly offset financial strains facing households,” Hughes added.