The amount Irish consumers spent on everyday grocery items, such as food, drinks and toiletries, increased year-on-year for the seventh consecutive quarter, according to Nielsen retail performance data. The amount people spent on groceries increased +2.1% in Q4 2016 versus Q4 2015. The 2.1% rise was based on a 1.5% increase in the volume of groceries purchased and a 0.6% rise in the average prices paid.
The Irish market outperformed both Europe as a whole (1.8% rise) and the UK (0.7% rise).
Alongside this, consumer confidence in Ireland at the end of 2016 was at its highest level since the recession and is now the sixth most confident country in Europe, according to Nielsen’s latest Global Survey of Consumer Confidence and Spending Intentions.
The Republic of Ireland’s Consumer Confidence Index score – which measures attitudes each quarter on topics including personal finances and job prospects – hit 100 in the final two quarters of 2016, the first time it’s reached this mark in nine years (Q4 2007). A score over 100 indicates degrees of optimism, below 100, degrees of pessimism.
The latest quarterly study shows the proportion of Irish consumers:
* Who’ve switched to cheaper grocery brands to save money – an activity often regarded as a barometer of consumer sentiment and behaviour – hit its lowest level since the recession (32%)
* Who’ve changed spending habits to save money hit its lowest level since the recession (59%)
* Feeling positive about their personal finances and feeling now is a good time to make purchases stood at 52%
* Feeling positive about their job prospects hit its highest level since the recession (58%) –the third highest in Europe, behind the Czech Republic and Switzerland.
“Irish consumer confidence has been steadily rising for the last few years and has been stable enough to withstand recent unsettling events such as the UK Brexit and the US election,” says Matt Clark, Nielsen’s commercial director in Ireland. “Although we’re a long way from seeing a return to the days of the Celtic Tiger, this confidence has slowly been translating into increasing spend among consumers. A good barometer of this is year-on-year grocery spend rising for seven consecutive quarters plus the volume of groceries purchased jumping by its highest level for a year. This provides encouraging signs for the future, particularly with a flat consumer price index and ECB interest rates remaining at a record low.”
How Ireland confidence compares globally
The global Consumer Confidence Index stands one point above Ireland at 101, whilst Europe’s is 81 and Great Britain is 102. India (136) has the highest score globally, South Korea the lowest (43).
The scores are derived from Nielsen’s study, established in 2005, which measures among 30,000+ internet consumers in 63 countries. To view historical trends for all countries, broken down by metrics such as financial concerns and job prospects, visit the interactive Nielsen Global Consumer Confidence Trend Tracker.