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Consumer Spending In Ireland Unaffected By Brexit - Latest Consumer Market Monitor Report

Posted By The Marketing Institute & UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School, 15 August 2016

  • Q2 spending on personal consumption is up by 5 percent on Q1 2016
  • Household debt (€32,269 per capita) is now at its lowest level since 2006 and is reducing at a rate of about 2.4 percent per annum
  • An increase of 7.8 percent was seen in the sale of services on the previous year

The recovery and expansion of the Irish consumer economy is now well established and not showing any sign of being negatively affected by Brexit. This is one of the key findings of the latest Consumer Market Monitor (CMM), published today by The Marketing Institute of Ireland and UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School. Data from the second quarter of the CMM indicates that the consumer economy in Ireland is now showing strong evidence of a broad-based, sustainable recovery.

The only area that is not thriving is property sales which are down by 7 percent this year, in direct contrast to every other area of consumer spending, with no evidence of a pick-up in the short term. 

Mary Lambkin, Professor of Marketing, UCD Smurfit School and one of the authors of the Monitor, said: “The imbalance of consumer spending and property sales needs to be addressed so as to bring the economy into better balance. Property sales ae struggling and there is sign of forthcoming growth in this area. As of May 2016, we have only seen 16,743 sales which is in stark contrast to 48,700 residential sales transactions in 2015.” 

Tom Trainor, Chief Executive, The Marketing Institute of Ireland, said: “In contrast to the UK’s consumer confidence downward plunge by 8 points to -9 following the Brexit vote, the largest drop in a single period in 21 years, consumer confidence remains strong in Ireland and bodes well for continuing economic activity. We appear to have a sustainable and broad-based recovery taking place.”


The 26 percent growth in Irish GDP that sparked recent controversy highlights the point that a far more realistic measure of our economic wellbeing is the growth in personal consumption which makes up 55 percent of national economic activity. 

The starting point is with the amount of disposable income circulating in the economy, because spending very closely matches income. In fact, there has been a remarkable increase in disposable income in recent times with very positive effects - gross disposable income increased by 5 percent in 2015, and by a similar amount in the first quarter of 2016.

The improvement in the labour market has been the most important factor driving this income growth, with employment increasing by more than 2 percent each year since early 2012. There is now 1.98 million people at work, up 46,900 year-on-year, and up by 152,000 since the low point in 2012. Pay increases have also contributed 2.7 percent on average in 2015, as have increased earnings among the self-employed.

Confidence is still strong here and is driving a steady increase in consumer spending that is producing better sales performance in virtually all retail and service sectors. Some of this reflects “pent up demand” following a long period of recession, and this can be seen most clearly in continued growth of “big ticket” items – home furnishings, new cars, clothing and other consumer durables – all of which are up very strongly in recent quarters.

Sales of new cars are an indicator of economic recovery, and Ireland is no exception. Following several lean years, sales of new cars were up over 30 percent last year to 121,110. 2016 is continuing this trend, although at a slightly slower rate, with 97,490 cars sold in the first half of the year, up 24 percent on the same period in 2015. This suggests a final figure of about 150,000 cars which will bring us close to the average of around 160,000 cars sold each year in the early 2000s prior to the economic downturn.

Sales of services such as accommodation, food and drink, and entertainment have also been strengthening, up by 7.8 percent for the year to May 2016, following 6 percent growth in 2015. Retail sales are also improving significantly; sales volume rose by 6 percent in 2015 and by a further 5 percent in the first half of this year. All retail categories got a boost in recent quarters, and the evidence suggests that 2016 is delivering strong growth for most retailers.

Sale of property is one area that is not showing strong growth. There were 48,700 residential sales transactions in 2015, and more than 40,000 in 2014. In contrast, there was just 16,743 sales to the end of May 2016, down 7 percent on the same period in 2015. Mortgage approvals were also down 11 percent to the end of May, further evidence of a weak market. Growth for the year is expected to be muted with the data indicating it will be less than 5 percent.


Consumer confidence showed signs of recovery in 2013 and this rose throughout 2014 and 2015. Confidence level reached a record high in June 2015 and remained strong through the rest of the year. At this point, consumer confidence in Ireland was well ahead of the last peak in 2007, and also well ahead of other European countries.

There has been a slight weakening in confidence during the first half of 2016 which may be reflective of uncertainly about the formation of a new government and Brexit. However, consumer confidence remains strong here and bodes well for continuing economic activity.

In contrast, consumer confidence in the UK has dipped in recent months, a clear sign that the vote to leave the European Union is harming the nation’s outlook. The core Index fell 8 points to -9 in the weeks following the Brexit vote, the largest drop in a single period in 21 years.


Household disposable income rose by over 5 percent in 2015 from €90 billion to €95 billion. This rise is due to a combination of expanding employment and increasing pay rates. There is now 1.98 million people at work, up 152,000 since 2012. Irish households also saw a pay increase of 2 percent in 2015. 

Disposable income was up by a further 6 percent on Q1 2016, largely driven by pay increases, with the amount of money now circulating in the economy very close to the level of the 2007 peak.

Personal consumption in total was up by 4.5 percent in 2015, and is up by 5 percent in Q1 2016, with no sign so far of a Brexit effect. Growth of 4 percent is forecast for the year as a whole.


Household debt is now at its lowest level since 2006, at €32,269 per capita, and is reducing at a rate of about 2.4 percent per annum. The ratio of household debt to disposable income has fallen by 60 percent since its peak of 215 percent in mid-2011. This rate of debt reduction has surpassed most other countries, but still remains relatively high at 167 percent of disposable income. 


Following five years of decline, a significant turnaround occurred in 2014, which accelerated further in 2015, with sales volume up by an impressive 6.1 percent.

2016 is continuing to deliver strong sales growth for most retailers with spending in the first half of the year up 5.5 percent in volume, year-on-year. 


The latest indicators for 2016 show continued momentum in consumer spending. Sales of new cars were up over 30 percent in 2015 to 121,110. 2016 is continuing this trend, although at a slightly slower rate, with 97,490 cars sold in the first half, up 24 percent. This suggests a final figure of about 150,000 cars, close to the average of 160,000 sold each year in the early 2000s.

The services sector grew by 5.8 percent in 2015, and is continuing to grow strongly in 2016, up by 7.8 percent for the first five months of the year, with telecommunications, food and beverages, and professional services very buoyant.

Retail sales, excluding the motor trade, were up 4.5 percent in volume and 1.4 percent in value in the second quarter of 2016. All product categories experienced growth; most remarkable is the growth in sectors that have been weak throughout the recession, such as bars and newsagents. In summary: 

  • Food sales up 3.2 percent in volume and up 2.5 percent in value; 
  • Non-specialised stores (supermarkets) up 3.1 percent in volume and 2.5 percent in value; 
  • Fuel up 1.7 percent in volume but down 6.6 percent in value;
  • Clothing, footwear and textiles up 7.6 percent in volume and 5.9 percent in value; 
  • Household equipment up 8.6 percent in volume and 4.5 percent in value;
  • Department stores up 3.2 percent in volume and 1.5 percent in value;
  • Pharmaceuticals and cosmetics up 4.8 percent in volume and 4.2 percent in value;
  • Bar sales up 6 percent in volume and up 7 percent in value.
  • Books, newspapers, stationery up 0.6 percent in volume and 1.4 percent in value 

Overall, we can conclude that retail sales are back on a strong growth path, and holding that strength in each successive quarter.



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Latest JNLR Analysis - July 2016

Posted By Carat, 29 July 2016

The Irish public’s love affair with radio has always been a long and faithful one and the latest results prove that our inherently aural culture persists with 83% listening everyday (down 1% YOY). These figures are from the latest JNLR report release covering Jul 15 – Jun 16 period. All data is compared to previous 12 month period, Jul 14 – Jun 15.

The amount of time spent listening is marginally down 0.5% YOY at 4.13 hours daily (All Adults). Whilst listening for 35+ has been flat, the younger demographics have shown a decrease. Traditional radio has done well to maintain, and even grow, youth audience listenership in recent years given the acceleration of technology and emergence of new platforms.

The latest listenership figures are somewhat surprising as the largest decrease in time spent listening was not among 15-19’s (flat YOY) but among 20-24’s (-2.9%) and more surprisingly 25-34’s, which went down 4%. While this is not cause for immediate alarm, any valuable audience segment that decreases 4% is a concern. This may demonstrate that new platforms are growing in prominence (such as Spotify and Apple music) at the expense of traditional radio, or it may be an early sign that challenges the belief that as younger audiences grow up they naturally embrace legacy media. Radio broadcasters are quickly evolving into multi-channel propositions to combat the loss of linear listenership.



Carat Ireland, part of the world's leading independent media planning & buying agency and the market-leader in digital and non-traditional media solutions. Owned by global media group Aegis Group plc, listed on the London stock exchange, the Carat network is more than 5,000 people in 70 countries worldwide. 

Today, advances in digital technology and changing consumer behaviour has created an era of unprecedented complexity and opportunity for clients. Media is now an ecosystem that includes bought, owned and earned communications. In this new era, Carat is leading and shaping the industry once again, using media in new ways to deliver business value to clients.

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CSR - Learnings From Twitter And Laya Healthcare

Posted By The Marketing Institute, 27 July 2016

The Marketing Institute held a recent breakfast led by speakers from Twitter and Laya Healthcare entitled ‘CSR – Because it makes business sense.

Ronan CostelloRonan Costello, from the Public Policy Team at Twitter kicked off the proceedings by taking us through Twitter’s CSR initiative. Costello described Twitter as a social movement as well as a business. There are on average 500 million tweets sent every day.

Studies by Deloitte and Rutgers University in the US, tell us that employees – especially millennials, want to feel like they’re making an impact. These employees are twice as likely to be satisfied with their career, if they’re given the opportunity to volunteer.

 Employees are also:

  •  24% more likely to recommend their company to a friend if it has a strong CSR strategy.
  •  65% expect to make a social impact in their job.
  •  44% of that 65% are willing to take a pay cut to do so.

The company’s CSR strategy @TwitterforGood is comprised of 4 main projects:

1.       Twitter for Good – Grants 
2.       Neighbour Nest
3.       Ads for Good - Grants
4.       Friday for Good

Twitter for Good grants – are philanthropic donations that Twitter make to worthy organisations several times a year. 

Neighbour Nest is a family friendly learning centre, located in the Tenderloin area of San Francisco across from the Twitter Headquarters. It has a mission to improve the lives and opportunities for the people living in the area. A partner – led initiative, Twitter work with NGO’s to help fund and organise programmes made available to the families.

Ads for Good is a partnership that see funds allocated to small-medium sized charities. Twitter has assisted organisations such as the Simon Community and ReachOut Ireland, ensuring that they maximise the grant through the running of successful campaigns on the social platform.

Friday for Good is a twice yearly initiative that enables Twitter employees to use Friday work hours to help charity organisations. Management motivate employees to take part and encourage a sense of duty to the project.

Some of the activities in Ireland have included:

  • Tree planting in Wicklow
  • A book collection for ReachOut Ireland
  • Opportunities for young people to shadow Twitter employees
  • Blood donations
  • Mental health panel with ReachOut

The reason Twitter’s CSR strategy works is because it aligns closely with what the organisation is all about - it focuses on what it’s good at - digital literacy, freedom of speech, charitable work, activism etc. and ensures that this is embedded in the culture. These initiatives have become part of the core values of the company.


Lorraine WalshLorraine Walsh, Head of Marketing spoke passionately about Laya Healthcares duty as the 2nd largest health insurer in Ireland, to take an active approach in preventing childhood obesity. Laya Healthcare is the first of its kind to deliver a bespoke programme for children.

Research from The World Health Organisation and Safe Food Ireland shows that:

  • 80% of children in primary school are not getting the recommended amount of physical activity. (60 minutes)
  • 1 in 4 primary school children are overweight or obese.


Laya Healthcare, along with Real Nation developed the Super Troopers programme – as “Ireland’s First Healthy Homework”. The strategy was built on 3 pillars of well-being, nutrition and exercise and delivered a programme that was rolled out over 30 weeks in primary schools all around Ireland.

Activity journals with two programmes - Junior & Senior were established to fit the needs of children aged 4 – 12. The exercises were designed to be simple, memorable and fun so that they could be easily replicated at home.

In addition to the school programme, a family wall-chart was created to keep track of activity levels for both children and parents. The idea was that Super Troopers combined conveniently into both school and home life.

In order to ensure that the programme could deliver credibility and validity, Laya involved industry experts to analyse the effects the Super Troopers programme was having on changing the habits and behaviours of children from an early age.

The results are as follows.

  •   70% of Parents and 71% of Teachers confirmed an increase in children’s daily activity.
  •   66% of teachers reported that the children were having more fun in class.
  •   64% of children drinking more water.
  •   55% of teachers using the activities in the P.E. lessons.

Social media involvement helped to drive momentum behind the programme and to recruit more schools to get involved. Laya Healthcare held a competition on Today FM to allow families to come up with a game idea that could be featured in the activity journal for the following year.

This programme allowed the organisation to leverage other sponsorship including Laya Healthcare City Spectacular, a festival which promoted Super Troopers by featuring kid friendly activities.

Companies such as Twitter and Laya Healthcare have thrived by building up their organisations around this philanthropy, instead of just demonstrating their commitment in a tokenistic way. However, the public image of a corporation can benefit greatly from CSR programmes and thus increase their chance of becoming more favourable in the eyes of consumers. 

Aileen O'Toole from Business in the Community shared CSR links:

1) Schools Business Partnership  

2) Business case for CSR 

3) CSR resources for SMEs 


Tags:  csr  laya  laya healthcare  super troopers  the ark  twitter  twitter for good 

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Brexit: What It Means For Business - Exclusive Report From Edelman

Posted By Edelman, 19 July 2016



While many are still analysing the reasons for the UK’s ‘leave’ vote in last month’s referendum, companies and organisations operating in Ireland, the UK and across Europe are examining the UK and EU’s likely next steps and their implications for both strategy and operations.

Edelman's team of policy experts in Ireland and across their European network is focusing on the options for the UK government and the EU in the lead up to exit negotiations, how these will impact Ireland and individual business sectors and what companies and organisations should be doing to have their voices heard on what each believes is the best way forward. 



Edelman is a leading global communications marketing firm that partners with many of the world’s largest and emerging businesses and organisations, helping them evolve, promote and protect their brands and reputations. We have deep expertise in consumer trends, research, analytics and insights, corporate reputation, health, technology, crisis, energy, and government affairs. Edelman has been awarded thirteen Cannes Lions including the Grand Prix for PR in 2014. Edelman has been voted Pan-EMEA Consultancy of the Year at the 2015 Sabre Awards, Global Agency of the Year and Best Agency to work for 2013 by the Holmes Report and International Agency of the Year 2013 by the PRCA. 

Edelman is the largest agency across the UK and Ireland with over 600 employees and offices in London, Dublin and Brighton. In Ireland Edelman works with clients including Musgrave, Ryanair, Visa, LinkedIn, Mars, National Lottery, Danone and Roche. 

Please visit for further information. 


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Featured Member: Alina Uí Chaollaí, Marketing Director, Largo Foods

Posted By The Marketing Institute, 18 July 2016

The Marketing Institute recognises excellence at every level, and so we have introduced our Featured Member Series, featuring some of our most esteemed colleagues.


Alina Uí Chaollaí began her marketing career in the mid ‘90s with the Ward Anderson Cinema group before making a move to Coca-Cola Bottlers Ireland where she worked in a variety of roles spanning customer, channel and brand marketing. In January 2014 she joined Largo Foods as Marketing Director where she has responsibility for defining and executing the marketing strategy of the Largo Foods portfolio of crisps and snacks which includes the iconic Tayto, Hunky Dorys and King brands. She also has responsibility for the KP portfolio which comprises of brands such as Hula Hoops, McCoy’s and the KP nuts range which were integrated with Largo Foods at the start of 2015. Since joining Largo Foods she developed and launched the ‘Make it Superior’ King crisps campaign featuring mixed martial artist Conor McGregor (which won a Shark Award), the ‘Satisfy Yourself with Hunky Dorys’ campaign and most recently the ‘More than just a crisp’ campaign for Tayto which includes three TVCs, outdoor and Tayto’s first ever pop-up shop in Dublin. The campaign was short-listed in two categories for this year’s (2016) AIM awards; winning the brand campaign award on the night.


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