There has been an increase in consumer confidence in person-to-person services, according to Deloitte Ireland's latest consumer tracker report.

56% of those surveyed said they feel confident engaging with these kinds of services, up 7% on the previous wave of research.

There was an overall reduction in anxiety among Irish consumers, a decrease of 6% since the previous wave of research, conducted two weeks earlier.

Despite this reduction, Irish consumers have the third-highest anxiety levels in Europe, after Poland and Italy.

Deloitte’s State of the Consumer Tracker is a monthly survey which tracks Irish consumers’ attitudes towards personal wellbeing, financial concerns, travel and hospitality, transport and retail.

The results are based on a survey of 1,000 consumers across 19 countries respectively (1,000 Irish consumers).

The most recent data was gathered between 26 November and 2 December, while Covid-19 restrictions eased to Level 3 nationally on a phased basis from 1 December.

Commenting on the latest results, Daniel Murray, Partner and Head of Consumer at Deloitte Ireland, said that the results are positive for retailers.

"Signs of an overall increase in consumer confidence and spending intent give hope that this will be a busy Christmas period for retailers after a uniquely challenging year.

"The findings of the latest survey also indicate that many Irish consumers are making conscious decisions to spend pent-up savings from the year at local businesses, which will provide a welcome boost," he said.

While consumer confidence has been boosted by promising news on vaccines and the emergence from level 5 restrictions earlier this month, cases of Covid-19 have since continued to rise.

Mr Murray said how this plays out over the holiday period will have a direct impact on confidence heading into 2021.

"What has emerged, however, is a renewed brand loyalty from many who are willing to spend their money with businesses that have responded well to the challenges posed this year.

"Consumers are acutely aware of the economic impact of the pandemic and this is likely to continue to influence their spending decisions in the long term," he said.

Concerns and spending intent

Consumers' concern for their personal physical wellbeing remained the same at 53%, while concern for the health of their family members decreased slightly, down 2% to 63%.

Concerns around returning to the workplace and around job loss were both down by 4% to 32% respectively.

Consumer confidence in engaging in person-to-person services was up by 7% to 56%.

40% reported feeling safe going to a restaurant, an increase of 8%.

There was a significant increase in spending intention on groceries (up 13%) and large increases were also recorded in spending intention on more discretionary items such as clothing and footwear (up 35%), restaurants / take-aways (up 32%), alcohol (up 22%) and electronics (up 13%).

There was an increase in consumer confidence in visiting physical stores, with 64% saying they would feel confident in doing so, up 3% since the last wave of research.

Travel, hospitality and tourism

There was a significant increase of 26% in intent to spend on travel and a 10% increase in those planning to travel to a hotel for leisure in the next three months.

Confidence in air travel increased by 3% to 26% and confidence in staying in a hotel increased by 3% to 40%.

However, 44% do not think it is safe to stay in a hotel right now, with 42% holding off on taking a holiday until the pandemic situation improves.

There were decreases in those intending to limit their use of public transport (61%, down 9%) and ride-hailing (55%, down 9%) over the next three months.