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Sunday 22 April 2018

Shoppers still slow to part with cash at tills

Aideen Sheehan and Shane Hickey

CONSUMERS have shown some confidence in the economy recovering soon but are still hesitant to part with their cash in the shops.

New research shows consumer confidence stands at the highest level in a year with almost half of people surveyed saying they expect the next six months to stay the same or improve financially.

However, this does not translate at the tills, as the majority will not commit to spending more money until they feel the recovery is permanent, according to the study from Red C market research. One in every five expects the economy to improve, with higher hopes among the youth.

There is also a substantial belief the world economy will improve within six months.

Meanwhile, separate research has shown consumers are getting lazier about switching services to get a better deal.

There has been a drop of 8pc in the number of people who swapped to a different provider for things such as car insurance, gym membership, grocery shopping or credit card in the past six months.

This is despite the fact that only 3pc found it difficult to switch, according to Amarach Research for the National Consumer Agency (NCA). NCA chief executive Ann Fitzgerald warned consumers not to be lax about switching.

"We are urging Irish consumers to vote with their feet by switching to get the best bang for your euro. There is value out there for quality services and savvy consumers will reap the benefits," she said.

Competition

However, there has been an increase in the numbers changing to Bord Gais or Airtricity for cheaper electricity since they entered the market as competition for the ESB, with nearly one in 12 people switching in the past six months.

Some 21pc of consumers had also switched their mobile phone provider, although this was down from 29pc two years ago, with younger users aged 15-24 the most likely to change.

One in 10 people has switched their landline telephone provider in the past year and some 6pc had swapped TV service provider.

The numbers switching mortgages or to a different credit provider had fallen in the past year, probably reflecting the banks' reluctance to lend.

The NCA said it planned to launch a tool shortly which would allow consumers to measure their household spending against the national average and get advice on how to cut costs.

Irish Independent

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