The announcement by Amazon of major layoffs comes as the cost of living crisis sees customers cut back on spending.

As we enter 2023, people are planning to save more in response to economic uncertainty and it is bad news for businesses, particularly in hospitality, reliant on discretionary spending.

Research conducted for Permanent TSB's Reflecting Ireland quarterly series on consumer attitudes and behaviours shows that few have not been impacted by a changing economic environment.

Pragmatism is an enduring theme and people recognise that there are testing times ahead and plan to cut their cloth accordingly.

Two thirds of consumers plan to put at least some money aside on a regular basis this year, with 75% of those aged 18-24 planning to do so.

The proportion of consumers planning to save regularly has increased from 58% in 2021 to 65% in 2022, which may lead to reduced discretionary spending in the economy in 2023. The proportion that are not in a position to save has reduced from 38% to 27%.

However, cost of living pressures are also influencing savings levels, with 40% of people saying they will cut back on the amount they save over the year ahead.

The most common reason given for saving is precautionary - for a 'rainy day' (51%). Other popular reasons are for a holiday (38%), a new car (27%) or home-related (home improvements 22%, mortgage deposit 16%).

Those saving for a mortgage deposit are more likely to be aged 25-34 (39%) or 35-44 (21%).

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A check on our financial wellbeing reveals a mixed picture. While some feel able for the financial challenges ahead others feel they will struggle.

The research found that 44% of women feel they are vulnerable to a financial shock, that they could not pay for a major unexpected expense. This is significantly more than the level of men (27%) who feel this way.

Claire Cogan, behavioural scientist, said,"it is good to see that over half of us feel confident about managing our day-to-day finances, however it is sobering that one in five do not.

"While many people are planning to increase their savings, a significant number do not have the flexibility to do so. There are clear indications that many will struggle, with a third saying they won't have money left over at the end of the month, or they wouldn’t be able to handle a major unexpected expense.

"There are clear differences in the extent to which people feel able to cope with financial challenges in 2023," Ms Cogan said.

Despite financial concerns, the research revealed strong levels of satisfaction with Ireland as a place to grow up or grow old

Three quarters of people believe that all in all, Ireland is a good place to grow up in, and only 1 in 10 disagree.

61% believe Ireland is a good place to grow old in, with 18% disagreeing.

When it came to issues of concern, Ireland’s healthcare system was identified as the main negative factor about living here, with 59% of respondents highlighting it as a key concern. This was followed by our political system (37%), crime (37%) and poor planning (36%).

When asked what people believe are the most important issues to be addressed in Ireland, the cost of living topped the list by a significant distance at 81%.

Housing issues, including the price of housing (47%), homelessness (46%) and affordable rents (34%) ranked next, with access to quality healthcare at 44%.

Leontia Fannin, Permanent TSB Head of Corporate Affairs and Communications, said: "Despite the significant financial pressure many are under, and high levels of concern about housing and healthcare in particular, it is good to see that all in all, most of us believe Ireland is a good place to grow up in (74%) and to grow old in (61%).

"People appreciate the positives about living in Ireland, particularly our welcoming nature, our environment, our culture and our values. That said, people are also very aware that more needs to be done to improve our services and make them fairer for all. This should focus our minds as we head towards 2023."

Reflecting Ireland is a quarterly research series from Permanent TSB which examines topical issues. The research was undertaken by Kantar in November 2022 amongst 1000 adults.