People in Ireland continued to work from home more than global average amid phased return to offices

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People in Ireland continued to work from home more than global average amid phased return to offices

People in Ireland continued to work from home more than the global average following the phased return to offices introduced here in September.

According to Deloitte Ireland’s latest State of the Consumer Tracker. The survey also found that a vast majority of consumers in Ireland are concerned about price rises for everyday purchases.

Deloitte’s State of the Consumer Tracker is a monthly survey which tracks Irish consumers’ attitudes towards personal wellbeing, financial concerns, travel and hospitality, transport and retail. The results are based on a survey of 1,000 consumers across 19 countries respectively (1,000 Irish consumers). The most recent data was gathered between 24 and 31 October.

Commenting on the latest results, Daniel Murray, Partner and Head of Consumer at Deloitte Ireland, said, “As the level of Covid-19 cases in Ireland began to rise once more during the second half of October, consumer confidence remained encouragingly steady. The lengths that businesses have gone to in order to protect their customers’ safety, coupled with the country’s hugely successful vaccination programme, have bolstered consumer confidence, making it less vulnerable to these kinds of shocks. Now, even as cases remain high and the Irish public is once again being asked to alter their behaviour, businesses and consumers have adapted to such an extent that our economy should still experience some level of uptick in activity that the holiday period traditionally brings.
“The continued take-up of working from home among the Irish workforce, even as office access was available again up to last week, is quite striking. It illustrates the need for companies to continue to be flexible about their approach to remote working into the future. At Deloitte, our approach is based on trust – we don’t require our people to be in the office for any set number of days, because we trust them to decide what works best for them and for our clients. It was their dedication during the pandemic which showed us that this model was possible, and that’s something companies of all sizes should remember when developing their remote and hybrid working policies.”

Consumer confidence, work-life balance & wellbeing

Consumers’ concerns around the safety of in-person activities has remained fairly level compared to the previous wave of research, conducted four weeks prior: 77% of consumers in Ireland feel safe going to a physical store, which has stayed the same since the previous wave; 74% feel safe engaging with one-on-one services (up 1%); 67% feel safe going to a restaurant (down 1%) and 49% feel safe attending in-person events (down 1%).

Consumers’ financial concerns have increased slightly since the previous wave of research, with 53% concerned about their level of savings (up 2%); 48% intending to delay large purchases (up 4%); 38% concerned about their credit card balance (up 2%); and 24% concerned about making upcoming payments (up 2%).

However, nearly half (46%) of consumers in Ireland feel optimistic that their financial situation will improve within the next three years, just slightly less than the global average (49%).

People in Ireland are working from home on average 3.55 days per week, which is higher than the global average of 2.7 days per week. That’s despite the phased return to offices which was introduced in Ireland during the second half of September and was in place up to this past week.

66% say they are centering more of their overall activity from their home now, than they were 12 months ago. 74% say they are prioritising their overall wellbeing more now than a year ago, while 60% are pursuing more purposeful goals now than a year ago, rather than solely focusing on earning more money.

In relation to work-life balance, 67% say they are finding more time to enjoy their day-to-day now than they were a year ago, instead of focusing on working harder to get ahead.

Spending intent & inflation concerns

60% of consumers in Ireland say they are spending more money on experiences now than they were a year ago, rather than on physical possessions. 57% say they are saving more money for their future now than they were a year ago.

74% say they are concerned that prices for everyday purchases will go up, which is above the global average of 68%. Groceries have seen the highest-perceived price increase among consumers in Ireland, with 54% feeling that the cost of groceries has gone up over the last month, followed by restaurants (46%), alcohol and tobacco (38%) and clothing and footwear (37%).

Consumers’ intent to buy clothing online in Ireland has seen a decrease of 3% on the previous wave of research, while intent to spend on restaurants / take-aways online fell by 2%. The millennial age group reported the most substantial drop in intention to spend online, with their intent to spend on clothing and restaurants / take-aways online each down by 5% since the previous wave.

Travel, hospitality & tourism

49% of consumers in Ireland say they feel safe taking a flight (up 2% on the previous wave), while 67% feel safe staying in a hotel (up 1%).

Consumer intent to travel for leisure remains steady in Ireland, with 51% planning to travel to a hotel over the next three months (down 2%); 29% are planning to stay in private accommodation (no change); 18% are planning to take a domestic flight (up 2%) and 30% to take an international flight (down 1%); 14% are planning to rent a car (no change); 36% are planning to travel by rail (up 1%); and 9% are planning to go on a cruise (up 1%).
41% say they would likely select a leisure travel destination that is close to home (up 4%). 23% say they would select somewhere because it offers an activity they like (down 4%), while 38% say they would select somewhere that would enable them to socially distance (up 2%).

11% say they are likely to travel for business over the next three months, up 4% on the previous wave; 20% feel that technology has replaced the business travel that they might normally do.

23% say they intend to buy a vehicle over next six months (down 1%), with 34% planning to buy new (down 3%). Of those planning to replace their car, 26% cite high maintenance costs (up 8%); 11% are looking for a more fuel-efficient vehicle (down 1%); and 7% are switching to electric (down 2%).

About the State of the Consumer Tracker

This monthly study is fielded using an online panel where consumers 18 years of age and older are invited to complete the survey (translated into local languages) via email. It is fielded in 19 countries (targeting 1,000 respondents per country/wave). The survey field period was 24 to 31 October 2021.

Article Published: 23/11/2021