More than 20pc of families can't afford holidays as survey highlights how households are struggling financially
Large numbers of families have decided not to go on holiday this summer because they cannot afford it.
Research conducted on behalf of KBC Bank shows that 22pc of consumers say they are unable to afford to take a break.
And those how have taking a vacation say they are spending just 0.6pc more than they did in 2018, according to the bank’s consumer sentiment index.
Economist Austin Hughes said the results suggest a substantial number of households are still struggling financially, in spite of the strong economic upswing.
Inequality in the economy is evident from the findings that 69pc of consumers say they are holidaying this year. And many of those are taking three holidays a year.
This contrasts with one in five consumers who say they are not taking holidays because they cannot afford one.
“So, caution rather than carefree spending is the watchword of the consumer in mid-2019," said Mr Hughes.
“While the survey was undertaken in July, when Brexit worries had again become widespread, these responses also hint at notable behavioural changes in spending patterns.”
For the most part people fall into the category of “working class” are more likely opt out of taking a break away from home.
The survey, which was carried out by Core Research , found that 28pc of working class people say they cannot afford a holiday, compared with 16pc of those classed as middle income.
Around a third of those who left the education system at lower second level say they can’t afford a holiday, compared to 14pc of those with degree level or higher.
Those in middle-aged age groups are much more likely to say they can’t afford a holiday.
This situation becomes worse progressively up to age 65.
Just 17pc of those aged under 35 say they can’t afford a holiday.
This rises to 23pc for those aged between 35 and 44, with 26pc of those aged between 45 and 54 unable to fund a break.
However, the number of those aged 65 and older who say they can’t afford holidays slips to 20pc.
“These age differences likely reflect a range of pressures from education costs to pension provision falling on middle-aged groups that materially lessen discretionary spending power for many households in this category,” said Mr Hughes.
For those taking holidays, most plan to spend around the same as last year.
Some 45pc of consumers with definitive spending plans say they are spending the same amount on a holiday as last year, with another 31pc saying they are spending more and 24pc spending less.
The survey responses on average holiday spend don’t differentiate between domestic and foreign spend.
This survey suggests 2019 may be a steady rather than spectacular year for those businesses dependent on the domestic tourism market in Ireland, Mr Hughes said.