New research published today shows that the majority of consumers are now shopping around for better deals as a result of the recession, with two in three people saying they are now managing their money better.
Conducted by the National Consumer Agency (NCA), the research reveals that the majority of consumers have made permanent changes to their buying patterns with 73% saying they will continue to shop around for better deals even when the economy stabilises and returns to growth.
In addition, two-thirds have learnt to manage their finances better as a result of the recession and plan to continue doing so in the future. Just over two-thirds (67%) of those surveyed have put off big purchases until the economic situation improves.
The survey also highlights a renewed sense of optimism amongst Irish consumers. Despite the recession, seven out of ten say they are enjoying their lives as much as ever. Some 38% said they were more focused on having memorable experiences, such as holidays, and less focused on acquiring possessions.
“Our research reveals that consumers are making positive changes to their shopping patterns and behaviours as a result of the recession, so there is some good to be found in these otherwise difficult circumstances,” said NCA Chief Executive Ann Fitzgerald.
“While many consumers indicated their income has dropped in the past year, they are responding by researching and carefully planning their purchases, spreading their shopping across outlets and taking time to understand and compare product features and benefits.”
Although 62% of consumers find they have less money to live on, 31% said their expenditure had decreased, while 43% said it had stayed the same. In response, the majority of consumers are now being ‘thriftier’ with 72% saying the recession has focused them on thinking carefully about what and when they buy. Just over two-thirds (68%) are buying less, and half claim they are budgeting for every cent when they shop.
Some 34% of consumers are spending more time ‘bargain hunting’ for their grocery shopping. And a similar proportion (31%) are spreading their shopping more across a number of shops.
Approximately four in ten (39%) are less likely to eat takeaway food and 44% are more likely to buy goods on special offer. Almost a third (29%) are preparing homemade meals from scratch.