GDP growth is an imperfect guide, while age, financial security, and a sense of purpose are better at predicting the population’s sense of wellbeing, according to a new survey on financial security by KBC Bank Ireland.
The report, based on its regular consumer surveys, found Irish people expressed “guarded optimism”, but that GDP fails to reflect overall wellbeing, said co-author Austin Hughes, the bank’s chief economist.
It also found “widespread differences”, with 28% of the survey reporting very positive views about their current circumstances, with 13% having negative views.
Levels of life satisfaction appear linked to age, with people over 65 notably happier than those under 24.
“People probably feel not as happy as they would like to be,” said Mr Hughes, adding that the survey may be useful for politicians in an election year in measuring the views of the population rather than relying on using measures of economic output.
“The area of most positive responses in the survey related to consumers’ sense that what they are doing is worthwhile, whereas the area of greatest negativity concerned the amount of unease consumers felt in the past three months,” the survey found, though it is unclear whether this reflects the recent consumer fears in relation to Brexit or deeper concerns.
“In a sense, this echoes a recurrent theme of sentiment survey results that suggests consumers feel somewhat detached from the very positive economic news they hear and very vulnerable to the economic threats they see,” it states.
Meanwhile, the latest Visa Ireland survey states that small local retailers will be hoping to tap into Christmas spending.
“As our research shows, Irish shoppers are more inclined to shop locally during the festive season, so retailers will be hoping this translates into a positive sales performance in the last month of the year,” said Visa Ireland country manager Philip Konopik.