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The Consumer Market Monitor - Q3 2018

Posted By The Marketing Institute & UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School, Monday 19 November 2018
Updated: Friday 16 November 2018

consumer market monitor Q3 2018Looming deadline for Home Renovation Incentive drives household spending


- Strength of Irish economy drives record consumer spending of €105 billion in 2018
- Average spend of €16,400 across 130,000 home renovation projects
- Sales of household goods also continue to soar, up by 14%
- The drop in the value of sterling due to Brexit enhancing buying power


read report


Dublin, November 19, 2018: The latest Consumer Market Monitor (CMM), published today by the Marketing Institute of Ireland and UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School shows consumer spending continuing to grow strongly and likely to finish at €105 billion for this year, a new record and well above the last peak of €100 billion in 2007. Both retailing and services are doing well, up by 4 percent for the year and spending is matched by strong Vat returns which are up 5.5 percent this year.

The findings of the report revealed a continued surge in demand for household goods, with sales of hardware, furnishings and electrical goods surging by 14 percent, making it the highest growth sector of retailing in 2018. Furthermore, the Home Renovation Incentive scheme, due to expire on 31st December 2018, is incentivising households to invest heavily in the fabric of their homes, with 2018 spend expected to soar to a record €2.1 billion.

Professor Mary Lambkin, author of the report, said:  

In a market where houses for those trading-up or downsizing are in short supply, the Home Renovation Incentive tax incentive scheme has been a major factor driving the trend for home transformation, stimulating a lot of spending on household goods and enhancements, as well as being a considerable support for the building trades and related retail sectors. 12,179 building contractors have been involved in these projects and, given a multiplier of 2-3 for the number of trades contributing to these projects, that may have supported as many as 30,000 jobs.”


Tom Trainor, Chief Executive of the Marketing Institute of Ireland, said:

“Despite the uncertainty around the impact of Brexit on our economy, Irish consumer confidence is significantly higher than our European neighbours and there has been no apparent dampening of consumer spending, as both retail sales and spending on services have remained strong. However, we cannot take this for granted in the period ahead as Brexit plays out.


Booming Economy

According to the Q3 2018 Monitor, a strong economy has further enabled this trend. An increasing number of people employed, up by 3.4% year-on-year, together with expected pay increases of 3% in 2018, has led to a substantial uplift in the amount of disposable income circulating in the economy, expected to grow 4.4% to €108 billion in 2018. As a consequence, consumer spending rose by 3.6% in the first half of 2018 with full year spending forecast to be up by at least 3%, with further increases in 2019 and 2020.

Consumer spending has also been supported by improving household balance sheets mainly driven by the increasing value of peoples’ homes. Household net worth per capita now stands at €150,768, up 70% from the low of 2012. Perceptions of increasing wealth feed confidence and encourage consumers to release some of their perceived wealth for spending.


Household Equipment

Driven by the strong economy and the booming renovation market, sales of household equipment have been growing rapidly since 2014 and have been the highest growth sector of retail for several years. The volume of retail sales, which represents real growth having adjusted for inflation, has grown rapidly since 2014, and is now more than 50% ahead of the last peak in 2007.

The value of these sales remains 9% below the peak level, however, suggesting that prices are still lower than they were in the last boom. 

Some of the pickup in sales of household equipment has been driven by new homes, with purchasers having to equip them from scratch. From a low point of 8,300 in 2013, 20,000 new homes are expected to be connected in 2018 and a further 22,000 in 2019

Sales transactions across the residential property market are also increasing year on year and are expected to total 55,000 for this year, up from 50,000 in 2017. The expected increase in sales and supply, in 2019 and beyond, will inevitably add further fuel to this boom in sales.


Composition of Household Equipment

Household equipment is the sum of three categories of household items: furniture and lighting; hardware, paints and glass; and electrical goods. While all three categories are now experiencing strong growth, the level of growth has varied considerably.

Electrical goods recovered fastest from the recession and are now 42% higher in volume than at the last peak in 2007, and up by 20% for this year alone. Furniture and lighting comes next; it is  up 14% above the last peak, almost double its low point in 2012,  and up by 8% for this year to date.

The weakest category, relatively speaking, is hardware, paints and glass. This category’s close tie to construction explains why it has been slowest to recover. It is still down by 14% from the last peak in 2007 but is up by 33% from its lowest point in 2012. It has picked up particularly strongly this year, up by 10% in volume terms for the year to the end of September.


Retail Spending

Retail sales (excluding the motor trade) were very strong in 2017, up by 5.8% for the year in volume terms, and by 3.8% in value. This equated to spending of €40 billion which was back to the levels seen in the last boom.  This growth rate was paralleled by a high level of Vat returns which increased by 7.1% in 2017 for a total of €13 billion.

Retail sales have continued to grow in 2018 but at a slower rate, up by 3.9% in volume and 2% in value in the first half of the year. Growth accelerated in the third quarter, up 4.3% in volume and 3.7% in value year-on-year, and this momentum is expected to continue as we face into the final quarter and the holiday season. Vat receipts are moving in tandem, up 5% for the year to the end of September.

All retail categories reported good growth in Q3. Household equipment continued to be the fastest growing category, up 14.4%% in volume and 6.6% in value, year-on-year. Supermarkets and other food stores also performed well as did pharmacies and department stores, although clothing and footwear were a bit weaker, as were sales through bars.


  • Food sales up 5.1% in volume and up 4.0% in value;
  • Non-specialised stores (supermarkets) up 5.0% in volume and 4.0% in value;
  • Fuel up 1.8% in volume and 11.0% in value;
  • Clothing, footwear & textiles up 2.3% in volume and 1.7% in value;
  • Household equipment up 14.4% in volume and 6.6% in value;
  • Department stores up 5.9% in volume and 3.4% in value;
  • Pharmaceuticals and cosmetics up 6.2% in volume and 2.3% in value;
  • Bar sales static in volume but up 1.3% in value.
  • Books, newspapers and stationery up 4.0% in volume and 5.0% in value.

infographic consumer market monitor q3 2018


About the Author


Mary Lambkin

Mary Lambkin is Professor of Marketing in the UCD School of Business where she teaches courses to undergraduate and postgraduate students and is involved in a range of research projects under the general heading of marketing strategy.  She has written extensively on this subject in academic journals, and also writes commentaries on marketing topics of contemporary interest for professional publications. She has served as Head of the Marketing Group, as Dean of the UCD Business School and as a member of the Governing Authority of the university at various times, and also holds a number of positions in companies and professional organisations outside the university.

About UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School


In 1964, University College Dublin became one of the first universities in Europe to offer the degree of Master of Business Administration (MBA).  In 1991, the graduate business school opened its own campus in Blackrock, County Dublin.  With over 100 faculty members, 1,300 students and 75,000 alumni worldwide, UCD Smurfit School is one of a small number of business schools worldwide and the only school in Ireland, to hold triple international accreditation (US - AACSB, European - EQUIS and UK – AMBA). The school’s programme has been consistently ranked among the leading European business schools’ programmes by the Economist and Financial Times, since 2000.


The School is also a member of CEMS and the Global Network for Advanced Management, which are alliances of leading global business schools.

About The Marketing Institute of Ireland

The Marketing Institute is the professional body for Ireland's marketing people. It exists “to enable marketers to build great brands and great careers”. It does this by sharing best practice, insights and expert content, building the community of marketers, and aiding marketers in career progression. The three themes of content, community and career underpin all Institute activities. The Marketing Institute also owns and operates the All Ireland Marketing Awards, the CMO Summit, and DMX Dublin, Ireland's largest marketing conference.

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A Day in the Life of... Darren O'Reilly, Chief Marketing Officer at Member First

Posted By The Marketing Institute, Wednesday 14 November 2018
Updated: Monday 12 November 2018

Darren O'Reilly Friends First

What does a Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) at Member First do?

As CMO, I lead the strategic marketing and communication functions in Member First, which is one of the largest community banks in Ireland. Member First was formed by several large mergers and acquisitions facilitated by the Central Bank of Ireland to create a modern-day, digital first Credit Union. My remit is further extended to drive our digital transformation and lead our customer experience teams which involves overseeing our customer contact centre and our credit departments. As you can see the CMO role in the Credit Union industry has vastly changed. It is an exciting and challenging role that extends far beyond just brand and eyeballs. The CMO's role is to drive both business performance and lead cultural change. I could be cheeky and reframe the question to read what does the CMO not do?


What were your key career moves to get to your current role?

A lifetime in financial services, clocking in 10 years now (even though I might not look old enough!). I originally started out as an accountant before realising I had a personality (That’s a running joke I tell my ex-accountant colleagues). I believe this foundation in business and accounting has made me the strategic marketeer that I am today. I was fortunate to work with ambitious organisations that gave me the autonomy to try new and innovative marketing campaigns. Having this free reign at such a young age provided me with a profile that opened many doors for me. I was named Young Professional of the Year in 2013 which started my international speaking career. Since then I have delivered talks around the globe on the topics of marketing and digital strategy. In 2016 I was voted top 10 speaker at WCUC, an international conference, alongside some world class speakers. And more recently, in 2018 I was named Early Career - Marketing & Communications Professional of the Year. I’ve been very lucky.


What is the biggest challenge you face in your role?

Customer retention is a challenge as the competition in the financial services sector has increased significantly in recent years and not just from the traditional main street banks. Consumers can now avail of credit at point of purchase such as car finance and retailers who offer credit solutions. Further several technology companies have now entered the lending industry and are shaking things up. Luckily brand loyalty and retention amongst our customers is high and we have ranked number one for customer experience for the fourth year in a row in the CXi Ireland Customer Experience Report. We continue to see year on year growth in loan sales and new account opening. However, we can’t get complacent and we continue to work on our loyalty and retention programmes to ensure we always deliver and remain relevant to our customers. From a personal perspective, the biggest challenge I face daily is time, there is never, ever as much of it as I would like!


What key skills do you need to be effective in your role?

What I have come to realise as I have moved into increasingly senior roles is that soft skills go a long way to putting your hard skills to good use. You obviously must have the technical ability to do the job but if you cannot lead and inspire a team you will never get the best results. The ability to empathise, communicate, have difficult conversations, challenge the status quo and inspire and lead a team are often given less attention than hard skills, yet learning to hone my soft skills and apply myself in this area is when my career really took off.


Describe a typical working day.

My day begins the night before where I plan out my key priorities for the next day and review my schedule, that way I am prepared for the following morning. My brain is most productive in the morning, so my day starts early where I do some of my strategising or more ‘heavy’ work before the teams start arriving to the office. Communication is key in the role and my mornings are spent touching base with my teams in various meetings and ensuring we are on track with all projects. Afternoons are generally spent on more strategic level work with our senior management team. I also consultant with the World Council of Credit Unions so I often find myself punching in some extra hours in the evening on international marketing projects with my colleagues in the United States. 


What do you love most about your role?

I love connecting with people through marketing. I am curious and passionate about understanding people. Not just the textbook stuff but really understanding ‘real people’ and applying this to Brand and Marketing strategies to make an impact. I have a huge interest in well-being & most recently completed my studies in Neuroscience which has allowed me to bring this personal interest in human behavior into a corporate setting and drive my marketing strategies.


Looking ahead, where might your career path lead to next?

I am always open to embracing new challenges. I am passionate about marketing and keen to further develop as a marketeer and eventually apply my skillset outside the financial services industry. As the ultimate goal is to be a well-rounded marketing leader with diverse experience – not just a one trick pony! For me it is all about learning and growth, if I am not learning it’s time to move on and challenge myself.


To whom do you look for professional inspiration in your role?

I look to marketing leaders in all industries for inspiration. I love leaders who bring their whole-self to the office – authentic and transparent. For example, Bozoma Saint John the Chief Marketing Officer at Endeavor and previously the Chief Brand Officer at Uber is someone I admire for being unapologetically herself and owning it. You do you, everyone else is already taken! I’m a big believer in ongoing coaching and personal development so I regularly work with a mentor to keep me on track with my personal and professional goals.

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Media Terminology Guide: Do you know your SSP from your DMP?

Posted By Pt78, Wednesday 14 November 2018
Updated: Monday 12 November 2018


media terminology

Effective communication usually starts with everyone speaking, or at the very least understanding, the same language.  We find this to be particularly true in successful agency-client relationships.  Our fast-evolving media landscape has resulted in a host of new acronyms and media terminology and quite simply, it can be hard to keep up. 

In an attempt to remove the brain ache of wondering what an SSP, AdX or CPM is, Pt78 has created a Media Terminology Guide which we hope will be an easy ‘go to’ for all client-side marketers and advertisers.  It may not answer all of your queries but they hope it will address most of them……..and if you come across a new acronym in your media planning that they haven’t included here, they have told us that they are open to suggestions for inclusion in version 2!


Click here to read the guide.


About Pt78:

Pt78 offers a range of services designed to maximise the return on your marketing and media investment.  We provide expert consultants who drive increased performance in Marketing Procurement, Marketing Strategy, Marketing Operations and Marketing Capabilities.  

We are passionate about marketing effectiveness and we believe in a no nonsense, jargon-free approach to the evaluation of all marketing investment.  To find out more, please contact us.



twitter: @pt78global


The media terminology guide was first published on

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Meet the Speaker: Q&A with Fiacre O'Donnell of Encirc

Posted By The Marketing Institute, Wednesday 7 November 2018
Updated: Tuesday 6 November 2018

Fiacre O'Donnell encirc

Fiacre O'Donnell will speak at our upcoming Marketing Breakfast in partnership with MCCP, where he will talk us through Encirc's journey of transformation and growth.

Fiacre joined Encirc in 1998. Having held a number of different roles, he was appointed strategic development director earlier this year. This role, which includes marketing and communications, also focuses on innovation and sustainability. An MBA graduate from the Ulster business school, he won the Drinks Business ‘Green personality of the year’ in 2016 for the work undertaken to improve sustainability throughout the business and was also listed in the top 100 of 2016 by the Manufacturer for his work supporting sustainability and innovation. He is a board member of British glass, the representative body for the glass industry and a member of the BITC NI environmental leadership team.

What would you consider are some of your career highlights?

Winning the green personality award was quite nice recognition, but seeing a business grow from infancy right through to where it is now and all the highs and lows that you go through with that, has been amazing

What are the main challenges facing your industry at the moment?

Availability of labour, adoption of technology, continued focus on solutions to our goal of glass as the packaging of the future 

What’s one piece of advice would you give your 25-year old self?

Talk more to people both inside and outside the organisation. It is amazing what solutions you can find when you share information.


Looking towards the next 12 months, what do you hope to achieve?

We have recently launched an internal programme called engage. My hope is to have the various aspects of this that relate to our CSR project embedded within our business.

Your favourite recent marketing campaign and why (from any brand/ company)?

Budweiser Drone delivery ad – embracing technology along with an industry we work very closely with.

One reason we should attend The Marketing Breakfast Series in partnership with MCCP with you?

We will take you through our process for developing our new strategy and open share the pain and joy of this process.


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The 10 Must Be’s: How to put the Customer at the heart of your business whilst driving career success

Posted By Sandra Lawler, Founder Director, Alternatives, Wednesday 7 November 2018
Updated: Tuesday 6 November 2018

 10 must be's for marketers


How do you remain a relevant and valued strategic partner that helps your organisation put the customer at the centre of its business, whilst ensuring your own personal career success? Here are 10 must be’s…


1. Be the Trends Agent.

Be constantly curious about your Market- the global one. The massively evolving market place, with new industries completely disrupting old. Be the eyes and ears from the outside in. Know where it’s happening and be the conduit of change into your organisation. Beg, borrow and steal interesting business models from other sectors. Understand the impact of online and help imagine long term opportunities. 

2. Be the tech champion.

Get trained in IT. Be IOT curious. Don’t wait to get impacted but explore the positive impact of how this evolving digital world can help your business improve margins, distribution, communications and engagement. Be AI aware. It’s here already.

3. Be the customer consulting department.

Have a passion for the consumer, always wanting to understand more. Know every segment like you know your family and friends. Ensure your organisation understands, innovates for and engages with all generations and segments of consumers.

4. Be the interpreter and story-teller.

Own Data, yes, but not for the joy of running models and analysing stats. Rather for the joy of knowing what’s important to know, interpreting data concisely, providing insight, and communicating it all through simple stories across the organisation. 

5. Be the translator.

Of data led insight into Segmented Strategy because business success is achieved at segment level. Help develop differentiated value propositions that do just that- provide real value to each target segment. 

6. Be the CEX Orchestrator.

Step out of your silo and form a true, holistic and single view of the customer. Plan in the detail, then activate and motivate the business to deliver a seamless and superior journey that delights. 

7. Be the creator of purpose.

Create powerful and trusted brands that are beacons. That express their clear purpose and values, both those working to create it and those who choose to be its customers and consumers. 

8. Be the engager.

Challenge, discover, delight, inspire, engage. In real time, on a personal level, online and offline. Deliver through deep understanding, powerful, creative, bold ideas that engage and create results across all platforms. 

9. Be the speaker of languages.

See every function, every stakeholder as a segment. Know their needs, their perspectives as you would your customers. As you would with your customers, talk to them in their language. Maybe “brand” means “brand” to some. Maybe it means “reputation” to others. Maybe talk results, rather than the stuff you’ve created. Use language to connect people to the market and the customer, across functions. 

10. Be obsessed.

With results and return. With effectiveness. Make advanced tools your friends to target and measure. Know every “return on” there is. Use it to reinforce your stories of success.


About Sandra Lawler

Sandra Lawler is Founder Director of Alternatives, a flexible talent solutions business, specialising in marketing, digital, data and customer focused talent. Alternatives helps businesses and great people achieve their growth ambitions.

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