Irish public loosens purse strings and starts to spend again, new poll
The public has loosened its purse strings and intends to start spending again, according to a Sunday Independent / Kantar Millward Brown opinion poll.
Discretionary spending has seen a significant increase and is set to rise even further in the year ahead, the poll found. Discretionary spending is money spent on non-essential purchases. It represents the remaining income after a person pays for personal necessities and taxes.
For the year ahead, three-quarters of people say they intend to spend the same or more than they did two years ago.
The Sunday Independent poll found that the increased momentum in consumption is mostly driven by younger people living in the greater Dublin area, but also found it evident in Munster, and is primarily among the better-off social groups.
The poll supports findings published last week which found that the public’s confidence about their personal finances has peaked to a level higher than throughout the Celtic Tiger period and is now at its highest point in 28 years.
However, the Sunday Independent poll also tempers that finding in that it found a level of consumer caution underlying the new-found optimism.
Almost half (44pc) of those polled have held steady and have not increased discretionary spending in the past two years, the poll found.
However, a significant minority, almost a fifth (19pc), now spend more than they did two years ago on non-essential items.
The poll also finds that in the year ahead people intend to spend the same and in some cases, increase their spending significantly across a range of consumer categories, including home improvements, holidays in Ireland and abroad, going to the pub and eating in restaurants.
The poll finds that the public believe there is less value for money in the hospitality sector than there was in 2012, the Sunday Independent revealed.
While service in the retail sector and the pubs has improved, the poll also revealed it has fallen back notably in hotels and restaurants.
The poll finds 19pc of the public increased spending on discretionary goods and services, up from 7pc in 2012.
The Sunday Independent poll also reveals that while Ireland’s relationship with the European Union remains strong, only 51pc of respondents believe the EU will respect the country’s “special position” with the UK throughout the Brexit negotiations.
Read the full report in today's Sunday Independent