Recession. Ireland is weary of the word, but after a long spell of economic doom and gloom, new figures show that we’ve shaken off the worst of it, which is good news for Irish consumers. Complete Savings takes a look at the new numbers and what effects we could expect.
new signs of life in the economy
A glance at the figures for the second quarter show a modest uptick, mostly due to an increase in the export of services and a small but crucial rise in personal consumption at 0.7%. Businesses concerned with software, communication, transport, and distribution grew by 1.4%, and the sector hardest hit by the collapse, building and construction, jumped by 4.2%.
As we stare down the barrel of another budget, this is cause for hope. The numbers may look minuscule, but this growth is still higher than the overall European average: something to celebrate.
consumer confidence on the rise
Irish consumers are starting to breathe a little easier these days, as the stranglehold of unemployment eases. To date, 34,000 new jobs have been created, an increase of 1.8% growth in employment overall. It’s a happy feedback loop. More jobs mean more spending, which in turn creates more jobs. As the holiday season slowly approaches, we can expect this cycle to speed up. Even in the depths of recession, Irish customers have always been generous at Christmas-time. In 2012, the Irish were the biggest holiday spenders in Europe, splashing out almost twice the average European Christmas budget. Added to the overall growing stability in the Eurozone, these factors are contributing to general optimism about personal spending.
we’re shopping smarter
Consumers and retailers alike have learned from the recession. Buying patterns have changed drastically over the last few years. More and more shoppers are dividing their spend between a number of retailers, and online shopping continues to gain pace. Shopping local has become a priority for many, and consumers are buying smaller amounts more often. Own-brand products are in high demand while customers are insisting on value for money. Retailers have been responsive, expanding their private-label ranges and constantly striving to compete for their share of the slim retail sector. If we can carry these lessons into a new period of economic growth, we can expect to get more for our money, even as our incomes rise.
While no one would say we’re out of the woods yet, it’s encouraging to feel a shift towards recovery. Complete Savings will be watching closely, ready to report on how these changes will affect the everyday shopper.