Retail

Over Half Of Irish Consumers Are Concerned About Their Financial Situation – PwC

By Sarah O'Sullivan
Over Half Of Irish Consumers Are Concerned About Their Financial Situation – PwC

Over half (58%) of Irish consumers are concerned about their financial situation according to PwC 2024 Irish Voice for the Consumer Survey, published today.

The analysis of over 1,000 Irish consumers found that 58% of those surveyed are either ‘extremely’ or ‘very’ concerned about their personal financial situation.

This was an increase from 49% last year.

61% reported holding back on non-essential spending, while 40% cite inflation as the number one risk to consumer habits.

Respondents cited grocery prices as the most significant cause for increased spending.

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Speaking about these results, John O’Loughlin, a partner at PwC Ireland Retail and Consumer Practice, said, “Irish consumers are continuing to feel the squeeze of inflation and rising prices.

“Value remains high on the agenda, with nearly half of Irish consumers seeking better value for money when considering switching from brands to which they are loyal.

“In the year ahead, companies must achieve a delicate balance between consumer affordability and environmental impact if they are to win new and retain existing customers.

“They will also need to bolster their digital engagement and service-delivery, particularly as more consumers purchase products directly through social media.”

Sustainability

The survey found that 80% of Irish consumers are concerned about climate change, with 43% buying more sustainable products.

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41% are making more considered purchasing choices, taking into account packaging and company practices.

In terms of lifestyle, 26% of respondents said they were eating more plant-based foods, 22% said they would reduce red meat consumption, and 28% said they were travelling less or differently.

These steps are significant as 84% of those surveyed said they are experiencing first-hand disruption due to climate change.

42% of Irish respondents said they would consider getting a hybrid vehicle in the next three years, and 74% said they would be willing to use alternative transport if they had better public transport infrastructure.

With personal steps made towards sustainable practices, consumers will likely consider retailer and supplier approaches to environmental issues.

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Social Media Spending

34% of Irish consumers reported purchasing products directly from social media, up from 15% in 2019.

66% of users use social media to find new brands, while 68% seek reviews to validate a company before making an influenced purchase.

Celebrities and influencers drove 35% of customers’ decision to make a purchase online.

However, social media comes with its concerns.

74% said they are concerned about their privacy and data being shared on social media, with just 38% confident that they knew how their data was being shared.

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When it comes to artificial intelligence (AI), 90% of Irish respondents expressed concern about the lack of regulation and governance for the technology.

87% worried about job loss potential from AI, and 89% were concerned about how AI could infringe on personal and data privacy.

Speaking about the digital sphere, the director of retail and consumer practice Owen McFeely said, “There is no doubt that digital is playing a huge part in retailing and the overall customer journey with AI having the potential to deliver significant opportunities if applied in a safe and secure manner.

“But trust needs to be earned.

“Those retailers who can demonstrate that they are keeping consumer data safe and who are using AI to enhance the consumer experience whilst ensuring they bring their customers on the journey, will be the winners.”

Read More: Weather Overtakes Inflation In Driving UK Grocery Sales Boost In May – NIQ

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