consumer behavior square

Consumer behavior instability since the onset of COVID-19

According to economic data analyzed by the Bank of Ireland, the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly affected consumer buying decisions. The government’s response to the coronavirus through forced restrictions saw the closure of many industries. This negatively impacted consumer outlook and disposable income, leading to a fall in spending. However, there’s been a noticeable positive change in consumer spending since the regulations were lifted around June.

Business and consumer sentiment sink in April

Around April, the Bank of Ireland released its Economic Pulse, which indicated that both business and consumer sentiment was very low. The former expected a drop in economic activity as the government imposed restrictions in the country. Consumers, on the other hand, expressed uncertainty about the future and as a result, felt that it was wise to cut down on spending.

Additionally, the Consumer Pulse showed that as incomes were falling, consumers reduced their expenditure on goods. In the same vein, the Household Pulse indicated that consumers were unwilling to buy or sell houses as the economic outlook seemed negative. Click here to find out more about the sentiment sink in April, and here for more about the sentiment drop.

Grocery sales up by 17% amid coronavirus

However, amid the Coronavirus in May, there were positive changes in household consumption. Consumers increased their expenditure on confectionery items. Overall, grocery sales went up significantly leading to a rise in monthly expenditure. Also, online shopping rose by 10% as the number of retail visitors dwindled.

During this period, vulnerable groups also increased their home deliveries of essential items. But, the total expenditure of non-food items fell, resulting in low sales for retailers. The fall in the number of retail visitors also worsened the situation.

Despite a fall in retail sales nationally, some retailers experienced an increase in market share as their sales were going up, for example, Lidl, became the fastest-growing retailer followed by Aldi. Click here.
Footfall in Dublin city rose to 160 000 today
The recent economic data examined by the Bank of Ireland in June shows that people visiting retail shops are steadily picking up. Footfall in Dublin City saw 160 000 visitors as the lockdown restrictions were being relaxed. However, the gradual uptake in the number of visitors hasn’t brought in positive sales as the business activity remains low. Click here.
Over 50% drop in trade after first Covid-19 restrictions lifted  
According to the Chamber Ireland, companies are experiencing low revenues because consumers are still uncertain about the economic outlook and are afraid to contract the disease outside. So, there’s consumer reluctance to spend as much as before the onset of COVID-19. And industries such as tourism, hospitality, retail, and education are the worst hit by the pandemic. Click here to find out more.
Consumer spending has been unstable since the start of COVID-19. Although some retailers recorded meaningful sales amid the pandemic, nationally, retail sales were down compared to the same period last year. When the government eased the restriction, the number of retail visitors went up quite significantly. However, consumers are still reeling under the financial strain of the coronavirus and as a result, their spending is extremely low. Therefore, businesses haven’t yet shown any meaningful recovery in terms of sales. Click here to read more about retail statistics.