Business Plus

Get Ready For 2024

George Morohan reports on what Amárach research has uncovered about the consumer and business outlook for 2024

- Paul Henderson, CEO, DMG Media

Consumer confidence in the performanc­e of Ireland’s economy has increased over the past year, according to PLAN 24, an in-depth survey of consumer and business sentiment conducted by Amárach Research.

The research was unveiled at a recent event hosted by DMG Media attended by c.150 executives. CEO Paul Henderson told the attendance: “At DMG Media we are in the unique position of delivering an extensive consumer audience through our websites and newspapers as well as an influentia­l B2B audience with Business Plus and businesspl­

“Global shocks, misinforma­tion, higher consumer expectatio­ns, talent gaps and the rapid pace of AI adoption are all challenges faced by leaders today. We hope the deep insights provided by Amárach for our PLAN 24 report will help business decision makers in the year ahead.”

The consumer survey of 1,200 nationally representa­tive adults was carried out the week prior to Budget 2024 being announced. The PLAN 24 research also included a survey of c.200 business executives on the Business Plus Panel.

Gerard O’Neill, chairman of Amárach, said Irish consumers have survived a pandemic and energy crisis in short succession and understand­ably they are wondering what comes next.

“The good news from the PLAN 24 report is that consumers are cautiously optimistic about the future, both in the immediate future but also over the rest of the decade,” O’Neill said.

“Buoyed up by substantia­l savings — especially those accrued during the pandemic which have not yet been spent — consumers are ready, willing and able to spend on the experience­s and services that matter most to them and their families.

“The future will also be driven by deeper currents of change,” O’Neill added. “Our research has identified a stronger and more positive sense of Irish identity than before. Additional­ly, the investment by Irish businesses in innovation and marketing revealed in our research means it is likely we will see a much stronger and more confident consumer market in Ireland compared to much of the rest of Europe.”

Ibec CEO Danny McCoy, a member of the discussion panel at the PLAN 24 event in the Westbury Hotel, observed that the government’s economic forecast for 2024 points to steady output and demand growth, moderate price inflation, and consistent­ly low unemployme­nt.

McCoy said the forecasts amount to a “bliss point”, adding: “There isn’t a minus in front of any of the economic forecasts, and 2% growth is from a level that’s a global phenomenon in terms of household income and wealth. Even for the lowest decile of households in the Republic of Ireland, their purchasing power is nearly 60% higher than the UK equivalent.

“In macroecono­mic terms you’re seeing no negatives and only positives. There is steady growth, inflation coming back to a steady state, and an unemployme­nt level of 4%. In 35 years looking at macroecono­mic numbers, that’s bliss.”

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