Irish consumers' concerns over their jobs, income and affording everyday bills have remained high as Covid-19 continues, according to research conducted for Bank of Ireland’s quarterly Savings & Investment Index. The Index is produced from a nationally representative sample of 1,000 consumers aged 16 years and above.
As the pandemic shows no signs of waning and the economic impact on the country increasingly materialises, consumers’ concerns have not decreased much since May. Forty nine percent are concerned about their income reducing, slightly down on May (57%) as more businesses are now trading relatively normally.
The index shows that where you live has less impact on concerns about income and it’s more related to what sector you work in and the job you do. Those very concerned about their income work in more traditional blue collar professions, some of which have been particularly hard hit by Covid.
Bank of Ireland say what is most striking is how little has changed in attitudes, most likely because even though lockdown ended months ago many people are not feeling that the worst is behind them. The other noticable figure from this national survey is that 88% of the population are concerned about a second wave of Covid, 53% very concerned.
Seventy two percent are concerned about their family members health, down only marginally on May (75%) and 53% about their own personal health. Despite Dublin being a centre of focus for infection rates, health concerns vary very little across the county. And in stark contrast to the early months, family health concerns are now highest amongst under 30 year olds at 81%, compared to those aged 60+ at 69%.
The Index shows that 33% are concerned now compared to 35% back in May, but that does leave most of the population not as concerned as they might have started to work again or have increased levels of savings due to Covid restrictions on how they’ve been able to spend. Bank of Ireland say concerns over paying bills is significantly impacted by what type of job you do and those under 30 and working in lower paid jobs are most concerned. The sectors they typically work in have been more impacted and any loss of income may have a more immediate effect on their ability to pay bills. Again, regionally there is little difference. Bank of Ireland say it is more to do with the sector and job.
Discussing the research, Chief Investment Strategist at Bank of Ireland Investment Markets, Kevin Quinn said, "The start of the pandemic was all about health concerns, which briefly eased and became financial concerns as lockdown ended. As the virus hasn’t abated, but the financial impact is biting for many, we now see significant levels of both health and financial concerns. Until some sort of end to the pandemic is in sight, it is possible that many of these concerns will remain, making an effective vaccine crucial to any sustained recovery."