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Consumer mood is brightening – Ennis Chamber report

Laura Reddy, customer insights manager, Sherry Fitzgerald Group; with Diarmuid McMahon, managing director, Sherry Fitzgerald McMahon, Ennis, and John Dillane vice-president of Ennis Chamber, at the Ennis Chamber of Commerce  networking evening.  Photograph by John KellyForty businesses attended the re-launch of the Ennis Chamber Tuesday2Network event that took place at Sherry Fitzgerald McMahon, O’Connell Square, Ennis, to celebrate their 110th year in business in Clare.
Ennis Chamber vice-president John Dillane reiterated the importance of businesses working together to support each other in these challenging times and the strong attendance showed the continuing appeal for businesses to use networking as a way to boost their business through one-to-one contact.
Facilitator and guest presenter for the networking night, Laura Reddy of Sherry FitzGerald Group then gave an overview on consumer sentiment.
In her report, Ms Reddy noted that in a KBC/ESRI survey revealed that consumer sentiment improved in January 2010 to its highest level in two years and that “the mood of consumers is brightening”.
“While consumers remain cautious, they are notably less pessimistic, which points to a clear and broadly based pick-up in confidence,” she added.
Ms Reddy revealed that a PriceWaterhouseCooper Report stated that consumers are hunting for value and are buying less.
“However, Irish retailers do feel more positive about the future but consumers are buying clever by taking more time to understand and compare features and benefits of products and services,” she said.
The report also highlighted that consumers are willing to spend more on products and services that they perceive to have genuine value.
“Therefore, businesses need to re-examine their entire offering to deliver perceived value, while also learning to understand how this dynamic is working within their own business sector,” she added.
In terms of shopping behaviour, over 90% of people claim to be more careful about their money and what they spend it on while 67% believe there are a lot of good deals around. In comparison to last year, 63% feel more in control of their spending and 66% of people still treat themselves occasionally despite the recession.
Some benefits of the recession have been seen as 62% are spending more quality time at home and 59% are cooking for themselves more. 50 percent agree that the recession may be good for people in the long run and 77% view it as a good time to retrain or continue education.
Mr Reddy maintained that Irish business has become less gloomy and there is a belief that the worst may be behind us. Businesses do feel more optimistic about the economic outlook and the growth in the global economy is helping.
The next Tuesday2Network event will take place on March 9 from 6.15pm to 8pm. Businesses, who are interested in hosting the event at their premises, are welcome to contact Ennis Chamber CEO, Rita McInerney on 065 6842988.


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