Zahra’s Q1 Consumer Sentiment Report

As the country looks forward to the loosening of Covid-19 restrictions, we asked our everymum and Easy Food Magazine communities how they’re feeling. The replies revealed a lot of interesting insights into what’s now perceived as the ‘norm’, spending habits, and attitudes towards the home, travel, shopping, and a whole lot more…

Over 4,000 survey responses allowed us to get a clear snapshot of where Irish consumers are at — and the findings will provide plenty of food for thought for marketers in the months ahead.

Lockdown Living – and Loving

Perhaps the most noteworthy finding is that more than half of the population, some 59%, say they have enjoyed life in lockdown. Reasons include the opportunity to enjoy more time with family (53%) and the lack of pressure to be social (26%), but the bottom line is clear; anyone imagining a nation ready to burst out the door the moment restrictions lift may be in for a surprise.

Indeed, lockdown has inspired people to re-evaluate; 37% say there are some aspects of the old normal they don’t miss, while 16% are nervous about life returning to its pre-pandemic form. 

The shift in priorities the past year has triggered is clear too; when asked what they’re most looking forward to, people identify being around loved ones (65%), traveling (17%) and eating out (12%). Interestingly, going to the pub is low in the pecking order, with just 2% most looking forward to the reopening of their local watering hole.

At a time where restrictions are set to ease, and many businesses are getting prepared for their grand re-openings, it’s interesting to see confirmation that ‘new normal’ extends to values and priorities, too.

Spending Habits

Another key finding is that more than half (59%) believe the pandemic has changed their attitude towards spending money. When asked to describe their current spending habits, 53% said they only buy what they need, and make a conscious effort to seek the best value.

Unsurprisingly, spending more time indoors has seen the home become a focal point of spending; 48% intend to spend money on enhancing their home this year, while 13% plan to purchase a property.

And despite the long wait to begin travelling again, around half (49%) of respondents say they have no plans to splurge on trips when measures are lifted. Of those who plan to fork out, 59% of participants have their hearts set on overseas journeys, while 41% plan to explore the sights and sounds of our own shores.

The Work/Life Balance

Working from home has become part and parcel of lockdown life, and it looks like it might be here to stay — good news for the 51% of people hoping for a better balance of home and office work in the future. In fact, 25% of those surveyed say they don’t want to return to office life at all. 

These figures, combined with the 23% of responders hoping for less time commuting post-lockdown, means that everyday trading might look entirely different when all is said and done. Businesses along the commuter belt are going to need to be smart and agile in capturing and connecting with new smaller commuting audiences; urban areas, meanwhile, may see reduced footfall even after the restrictions have lifted.

Food For Thought

Given that our lives have been limited to within a few kilometres of home, it makes sense that local suppliers have seen increased interest. 72% say a year of living with Covid-19 has led them to shop local more, and 30% admit to increasing their food spend because they “need something to enjoy”. 

Businesses that can establish ties within their community, then, stand to gain in the coming months as things re-open. This can be as simple as sharing your story, getting involved with local events, or communicating directly with people in your area; all mainstays of a strong content marketing approach.

When it comes to hitting the kitchen, Irish people have been cooking up a storm. 30% spend more time preparing food from scratch, and 29% say they’re experimenting with recipes more than previously—and from crockery to cookbooks, that means new opportunities in the food industry.

Your Next Steps

Whether it’s preparing to get back in action, revising your strategy to suit the post-pandemic market, or growing your local outreach to ensure the opening of the country opens new doors for your business, taking the time to learn how lockdown has changed consumer sentiments is a vital step towards making the rest of 2021 a success for your brand. 

To find out how your brand can leverage these insights to create content that connects, email hello@zahramediagroup.com

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