Irish consumers are preparing for major lifestyle cutbacks as they begin to feel financially squeezed, according to new research.

A survey carried out by consumer research firm Mintel says 67% of people are now more conscious of their finances than they were before.

The rising cost of living is having a direct impact on everyday lifestyles according to Mintel's research.

In its Irish Lifestyles 2008 report, published today, Mintel warns there will be cutbacks in key lifestyle areas like eating in restaurants and entertainment, with 64% of those surveyed saying they would eat out less often.

Elsewhere 42% of consumers are prepared to cut back on grocery bills. 60% say they will buy fewer clothes, shoes and jewellery and 55% say they will cancel DIY and home improvements. Most, though, will still find the money to go on a summer holiday and to take short breaks.

The report follows publication by the Central Statistics Office last week, of figures showing a slowdown in consumer spending. The volume of retail sales in March fell by 1.8% compared with February, the second monthly fall in a row.