Irish consumers are generally optimistic about their prospects but remain cautious, according to the broad conclusion of a study of people's shopping habits carried out for Retail Ireland.

Retail Ireland is the Ibec group that represents the retail sector. 

Four out of every ten consumers have delayed purchasing "big ticket items" like cars and furniture over the last two years, but over a quarter are likely to make such a purchase in the next year, according to the research conducted by Millward Brown.
The research also found that grocery shoppers remain very price conscious.

78% of consumers surveyed said they buy more goods on special offer than before the recession and 66% of grocery shoppers say they purchase more own brand/private label goods than they used to.

Over half of consumers say they feel more positive about their financial status than 12 months ago, but two thirds say that they now "actively seek out cheaper ways of living".

"While the economy may be improving, shopping habits that altered following the economic crash show no sign of changing back," commented Retail Ireland director Stephen Lynam.

"Positive economic trends mean the Government finally has a chance to ease the pressure on consumers in the upcoming budget. Following years of painful tax hikes, income tax along with other consumer taxes should be reduced," Mr Lynam.