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'Things are more likely to be getting worse than better for consumers'

Most people also expect to pay more on essential items over the next six months.

A NEW SURVEY has painted a gloomy picture of consumer confidence in Ireland.

The Government has signalled that although many aren’t feeling the benefits of Budget 2015, the effects will begin to kick in next month.

The latest Deloitte Consumer Tracker has revealed that 39% of consumers are less optimistic about their disposable income, while the same amount don’t expect it to change.

Of the 1000 adults surveyed, a minority of 17% said they are more optimistic.

This drain on income is largely down to the increasing cost of essential items, the survey suggested, which means people are still cutting back on socialising, clothing, and other discretionary items.

Significant purchases are also off the table for most, although the number of people considering purchasing a new car or house has increased slightly (10% to 15% and 5% to 7% respectively).

Over the past six months, respondents said they have spent more on utility bills (45%), transport (33%), healthcare (30%) and housing (22%) over the past six months, and a similar pattern emerges when predicting what will come in future.

“Irish consumers remain cautious, as evidenced by the high level of savings,” Kevin Sheehan, head of consumer business at Deloitte, said, noting that 48% pay money into a savings account each month.

“While the findings show that many consumers’ financial situations have stayed the same over the last number of months, for those that have experienced a change in circumstances, it is more likely to have gotten worse than better.

While marginal increases in spend are anticipated, these are mostly likely to be on essential items, with little left for discretionary items.

The survey also examined the influence of brands and promotional offers on consumers, revealing that 49% do not believe that sales offering real savings on essential items.

However, half of respondents said that, aside from groceries and cosmetics, they would be likely to switch brand to avail of an offer.

Read: Irish people have less extra cash than our European neighbours >

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