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Christmas spending: We're not in 'panic mode' but Brexit is putting the brakes on plans to splash the cash

In the UK, consumer confidence registered the largest monthly decline in seventeen months in November.

Image: Shutterstock/Volodymyr Tverdokhlib

IRISH CONSUMERS PLAN to spend this Christmas but remain cautious as Brexit looms, according to the latest KBC/ESRI Consumer Sentiment Index.

The latest study shows a slight financial improvement in November – in part down to Budget 2019 measures – meaning that, while Irish people aren’t in “panic mode”, Brexit uncertainty did “hit home” last month. 

Improvements in household finances coupled with Black Friday sales, however, have boosted consumer spending with the monthly index rising to 96.5 reversing October’s monthly drop to 93.5.

That is still “well below” recent peaks seen in January and July, the report notes. 

By comparison, consumer confidence in neighbouring economies remained on a downward trend, the study notes, with Euro sentiment readings largely influenced by a poor French reading. 

In the UK, consumer confidence registered the largest monthly decline in seventeen months. Prime Minister Theresa May is currently seeking approval for her draft withdrawal agreement with the EU. 

‘Gain in confidence’

Consumer outlook on the jobs market in Ireland has declined, according to the latest KBC/ESRI index, representing “a slightly larger increase in numbers expecting rising unemployment than in those expecting lower joblessness.”

The difference between job growth in Dublin and elsewhere was notable in November, however. 

In 2017, numbers at work in Dublin increased by 2.3% – a slower pace than elsewhere in the country.

In 2018, however, employment has increased by 5.8% in Dublin compared to a rise of 2& elsewhere. 

A boom In Ireland remains unlikely, the latest survey showing a “pause” following increased economic worries over the last few months with consumer attitude now reflecting “a Brexit-scarred rather than a blowout Christmas.”

Reacting to the latest figures, ESRI’s Philip Economides said that “the approaching festive holiday season likely contributed towards the gain in confidence.”

“Though consumers’ outlook on the general economy continued to decline, November’s loss of confidence are notably less than the previous three months.”

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