Consumer Mindset – September 2021
Every day news is moving beyond COVID
For the first time since March 2020, a COVID-19 headline was not the top news story of the month. The US withdrawal from Afghanistan and subsequent control by the Taliban was viewed by Irish people as the most important story, as part of Core’s Cultural Index analysis. Across 20 stories from the month, 91% of the population were aware of the Afghan situation and 80% said it was of significant importance.
In contrast, bringing joy to the country, the Olympics were the third most engaged with news story, with 61% of people saying they were important for the country.
The further easing of COVID-19 restrictions was the second most significant story, according to the public, with 71% saying it was a significant moment. Despite hours of radio debate, only half of the population believed the Zappone controversy was significant, with more people aware of Hurricane Ida in the US and wildfires in Greece.
Impact on Consumer Sentiment
While COVID-19 prevails but doesn’t dominate our news, how has this impacted our consumer mindset as we approach the final quarter of 2021? The KBC Consumer Sentiment Index remains relatively flat, but public confidence about the new world is gradually improving.
COVID-19 Concern is at an All Time Low
The proportion of people ‘extremely’ or ‘very concerned’ about COVID-19 is now at 34% of the adult population, down from 37% last month and its highest point of 71% in January 2021.
While 72% of people say they remain cautious about meeting up with people, 68% say they are ready to socialise with others more. This balance of moving on, and remaining conscious of the pandemic will remain with the majority of the public for a significant period of time.
This month’s report specifically looked at the confidence in returning to activities previously under restriction. The main focus for people has been re-connecting with friends with just over 1.4 million people saying they have already met friends for drinks or dinner indoors, and a further 1.2 million plan to do so in the coming month. Returning to the workplace is the second most engaged with activity, with 1.4 million people saying they had travelled on public transport and 1.2 million people saying they had already returned to the workplace. A further 688,000 people plan to return to the workplace this month. In terms of recreation, approximately 1.5 million people would like to fly abroad, or attend an outdoor sporting or music event, while just under 1.2 million would attend an indoor gig or event.