Over three in five people believe they face having to cut back on food due to the surge in prices, while a similar proportion describe themselves as “just getting by”, according to a survey by Permanent TSB and Kantar.
Cost of living concerns are now the dominant issue among consumers, with 81% of people saying it’s their chief worry, the survey of 1,002 adults here found.
The research, conducted last month, shows that energy bills are a concern for the majority of people, with 53% saying they fear they will be unable to afford the higher cost.
Furthermore, 59% of those surveyed believe that inflation is "not a temporary or time-limited issue and say there won't be a return to normal in the near future". That pessimistic sentiment has been a feature of numerous recent surveys.
The negativity expressed in the Kantar/PTSB survey is at its highest level for nine years, with 53% of people feeling they are less well-off than they were a year ago. A quarter of people (24%) feel they will be better off in a year’s time, while 43% say they think they will be worse off.
Only around one in eight people (12%) believe they will get a pay increase that will absorb the cost of living. Furthermore, just over one in five (22%) say they do not feel confident managing day-to-day expenses while over two in five (43%) have no money left over at the end of the month.
One of the measures put forward by the energy regulator for consumers to save on their bills is to switch providers regularly. According to this survey, 55% of people say they plan to switch power or gas provider (up from 49% last year).
With the looming departure of KBC and Ulster Bank from the market, the number of people looking to switch current accounts has doubled in the last year to 23%.
Paul Moran, associate director of Kantar, said the inflation surge has “caught many consumers by surprise”.
“We are now seeing a generation of consumers who have never experienced such a phenomenon,” he said.
"They feel they are in uncharted territory but are now having to map a journey forward.”
The Cost of Living Coalition, a campaign by political parties including Sinn Féin and People Before Profit as well as the Dublin Council of Trade Unions, the Union of Students in Ireland and the Rural Ireland Organisation, said this latest survey “confirms a deepening cost of living crisis”.
It is organising a protest in Dublin on June 18 and is calling on the public to come out in big numbers to send a message to the Government that action is needed.
“Households are really struggling to make ends meet,” it said. “[The Government] is out of touch. We need action now to curb prices, boost incomes and stop profiteering.”