Consumer confidence wanes again

MOUNTING concern over the full extent of the upcoming budget and a correction of initial growth estimates for the Irish economy have eroded consumer confidence, according to a new survey.

The latest quarterly financial confidence index from Standard Life fell to a record low reading of 51.1 for the third quarter of the year – down from 53.3 in the second quarter and well down from its record high reading of 66.7 at the end of the first quarter of 2008.

“People are undoubtedly worried about the December Budget, anticipating increased taxes, reduced benefits and services. There’s the added concern about economic growth following recent lower-than-expected GDP numbers; which can’t be helping,” said Brendan Barr, head of marketing with Standard Life, who also said the latest drop marked “a pretty significant move for the index.”

According to the latest survey, financial confidence levels are down for most demographic and geographic groups compared to 12 months ago – with those living in Dublin, and those over the age of retirement seeing the largest declines; although Dublin-based consumers remain the most financially secure regional group at the current time.

Munster is the second most confident region, with an average score of 51.1, followed by Connacht at 50.7 – with the rest of Leinster (excluding the Greater Dublin area) weakest, with a reading of 50.2.

Overall, those in the 25-34 age bracket remain the least confident. On a gender basis, females saw a significant drop from 51.3 to 47.9 in the index reading, while males were only down from 54.9 to 54.3.


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