Almost 70 per cent of Irish people say they are worse off than they were this time last year while close to two thirds fear their personal finances are going to be even more stretched in 2023, according to new research.
The survey by Bord Bia suggests that Irish people are not only more gloomy about their own financial wellbeing than consumers in the UK, France, Germany and the United States but much more pessimistic about the economic prospects for the State.
As inflation continues to hit people’s spending, 61 per cent of people globally said they felt worse off compared with last year, with 56 per cent believing things will worsen in 2023.
The negative outlook was more pronounced in Ireland with 69 per cent of Irish consumers saying things are worse now than last year. Only in the UK was the assessment more downbeat, with 70 per cent of consumers there saying they were worse off now than 12 months ago.
When asked about their personal finances for the year ahead 64 per cent of consumers in both Ireland and the UK said they would most likely be worse this year, compared with just 33 per cent of Americans, 58 per cent of French consumers and 60 per cent of people in Germany.
The research, conducted in the run-up to Christmas, shows some signs of an easing of the cost of living crisis across Europe. However, most people here think things are getting worse, with 80 per cent of Irish people believing the economic situation will disimprove over the next 12 months, compared with just 49 per cent in the US and 45 per cent in Germany.
The Inflationary Impact 2022 study was conducted among just under 10,000 consumers in Ireland, the UK, Germany, the US and France.
In the research, 44 per cent of those polled described their current financial position as either poor or very poor. Just 7 per cent assessed it as excellent. The remaining 50 per cent said they were financially comfortable – a decline of nine percentage points in 12 months.
Inflation is causing people to shop around in multiple stores to get the best deals, with 51 per cent of Irish consumers saying they are now shopping across several stores more frequently as they seek out the best value.
Discounters have been the big winners over the course of the last while. Specialised local shops such as butchers and bakeries have taken a hit. The global average has recorded a 22-point increase in the net increase of shopping in discounters last year, rising to 30 per cent in Ireland and just 15 per cent in Germany.
At a local level, 29 per cent of Irish people told researchers they could afford to buy only essential items, compared with 23 per cent who said they were in that position last year.
Buying and shopping for “the essentials” means different things depending what budgets allow for. Among the less financially secure, it meant making do with less, while the more financially secure said that when buying essentials they were putting the same number of items into their shopping trolleys but looking for cheaper alternatives.
When it comes to food and drink, Bord Bia said people are trying to spend less but expect to spend more because of inflation, an attitude which is mirrored when it comes to motor fuel. With regard to energy bills people are resigned to spending more this year and don’t really feel they have control over how they might curb their spending.