Ireland's embattled consumer economy is finally showing definite signs of recovery.
The Marketing Institute of Ireland and UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School have today launched their Consumer Market Monitor for Q2 2014, which shows that consumer confidence now stands at +8.4, an increase of over 19 points compared to the same period in 2013.
Consumer confidence increased steadily through 2013, rising to a record level of +10 in Q1 2014, and this improving confidence has also begun to feed through into consumer spending.
Mary Lambkin, Professor of Marketing, UCD Smurfit School, and one of the authors of the Monitor, said: "Consumer spending accounts for over 60pc of GNP in Ireland and is a critical factor in driving any recovery of the economy. Consumer spending is affected by the combined influences of how much money people have available to spend coupled with their confidence in spending it. Disposable incomes are still under pressure but increasing confidence coupled with greater availability of credit is at last leading to significant growth in many categories of goods and services."
Tom Trainor, Chief Executive, The Marketing Institute, added that the positive shift in consumer confidence points to a potential turnaround in the Irish economy and marks an important psychological milestone as people are feeling more comfortable to spend again.
"This will hopefully lead to a virtuous cycle of spending as businesses feel more confident to expand or hire more staff, which in turn could result in another boost in consumer spending. While there are a number of serious hurdles to overcome, such as the impending budget, the signs are positive, representing a great opportunity for the Irish marketing profession to capitalise on."