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Employment Growth Raises Consumer Confidence To Highest Levels In A Decade - Latest Consumer Market Monitor

Posted By The Marketing Institute, Friday 20 May 2016

  • Consumer spending up by 3% in 2015, expected to be main driver of growth in 2016 and 2017
  • Pay increases of about 2% as well as increased earnings among the self-employed
  • Retail sales up 6.4% on 2015

The growth in employment over the past few years is currently mirroring the amount of disposable income circulating in the economy according to the latest Consumer Market Monitor (CMM) published today by The Marketing Institute of Ireland and UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School. Data from the Quarter 1 2016 Monitor indicates that the consumer economy in Ireland is now showing strong evidence of a broad-based recovery. 

Domestic demand, currently growing at close to 4%, is now the main driver of this remarkable economic growth. Consumer spending was up by 3% in 2015 and is expected to be the main driver of growth in 2016 and 2017. 

Tom Trainor, Chief Executive, The Marketing Institute of Ireland, said: “The remarkable economic growth we are seeing is due to domestic demand, driven by increasing Irish household wealth as property values recover and consumers make progress in paying down debt, pushing consumer confidence to the highest level in a decade.”

Mary Lambkin, Professor of Marketing, UCD Smurfit School, and one of the authors of the Monitor, said: “The improvement in the labour market has been the most important factor driving the recovery, with the average annual employment growth of over 2% since early 2012.There are now 1.98 million people at work, up by 158,000 since the low point in 2012, contributing to the long anticipated increase in the amount of disposable income circulating in the economy - the ‘virtuous circle’ that we have been waiting for. In fact, there has been a remarkable increase in disposable income - gross disposable income increased by an estimated 9% in 2015, a kind of increase not seen since the heady days of the Celtic Tiger.”


Pay increases of about 2%, which were common in 2015, have also contributed to growth, as have increased earnings among the self-employed.

Increased consumer confidence is now at the highest level in a decade reflecting ‘pent up demand’ following a long period of recession, and this can be seen in growing sales of big ticket items such as homes, home furnishings, new cars and clothing.

Following several lean years, sales of new cars were up more than 30% last year to 121,110. 2016 is continuing this trend, with a further increase of 30% in the first quarter, suggesting a final figure of about 175,000 cars. An average of 160,000 cars were sold each year in the early 2000s. Sales of services such as accommodation, food and drink, and entertainment have also been strengthening, up by 5.8% during 2015. 

Retail sales are also improving significantly; sales volume rose by 6.1% in 2015. All retail categories got a boost in recent quarters, and the evidence suggests that 2016 is delivering strong growth for most retailers, up 6.5% in the first quarter year-on-year. 

Property sales are also buoyant, with 48,374 residential property market transactions recorded in 2015, up 21% on 2014 which, in turn, was up 38% on 2013. 22,767 new mortgages were issued in 2015, up 19% year-on-year.


Consumer confidence in Ireland fell dramatically in 2008 as the financial crisis unfolded, and remained low through 2009, the bailout in 2010, and the Eurozone crisis of 2011-2012. Confidence recovered slightly in 2013 due to strong employment growth and our exit from the bailout programme.  It rose further through 2014 due to a steady flow of good news on employment, tax receipts, and growth in services and manufacturing. This upward trend continued in 2015, reaching a record high of +16.7 in June, and remained strong through the rest of the year. 

Although there has been a slight weakening in confidence during the first quarter of 2016, perhaps reflecting uncertainly about the formation of a new government and about Brexit, at 14.9 consumer confidence in Ireland is now well ahead of the last peak in 2007 and also well ahead of our European neighbours. 


Household disposable income rose by a remarkable rate of 9.4% in 2015, due to a combination of increased employment levels and higher pay rates. This increase approached the growth rates of the Celtic Tiger era; the previous record was 9.8% growth in 2005.

Household spending is now growing consistently at a rate of 3-4%, and all analysts agree that this strong growth curve is well established and likely to continue for this year and next.


Following four years of decline, retail sales stabilised in 2012, and increased by a very slight 0.8% in volume in 2013. A significant turnaround occurred in 2014, with retail sales volume up by 3.7% and value up by 1.6%. This recovery accelerated further in 2015, with sales volume up by an impressive 6.1% and value up by 2.7% for the year.  Noteworthy is the fact that this growth in sales exceeded the growth in footfall (up 1.6%) providing evidence of a real uplift in spending. Strong Vat returns also provide evidence of growth; up by 7.9% in 2014, and by 7.1% in 2015.

The evidence suggests that 2016 is continuing to deliver strong sales growth for most retailers with spending in the first quarter up 6.5% in volume year-on-year. 


All product categories except fuel experienced growth in Q1 2016, up 6.5% in volume and 4% in value. Most remarkable is the significant growth displayed by sectors that have been weak throughout the recession, such as bars and newsagents. In summary: 

  • Food sales up 5.8% in volume and up 5.2% in value; 
  • Non-specialised stores (supermarkets) up 6.0% in volume and 5.4% in value; 
  • Fuel down -0.4% in volume and up 2.6% in value;
  • Clothing, footwear & textiles up 12.2% in volume and 8.7% in value; 
  • Household equipment up 5.0% in volume and 2.9% in value;
  • Department stores up 10.2% in volume and 7.6% in value;
  • Pharmaceuticals and cosmetics up 6.1% in volume and 4.2% in value;
  • Bar sales up 7.6% in volume and up 8.2% in value.
  • Books, newspapers, stationery up 6.5% in volume and 7.8% in value; 



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The Marketing Institute And Ulster University Collaborate To Help Graduates "Build A Strong Career Foundation"

Posted By The Marketing Institute, Wednesday 18 May 2016

The Marketing Institute of Ireland and the Department of Marketing, Entrepreneurship and Strategy at Ulster University have collaborated in the staging of an event aimed at helping graduates build a strong career foundation. This recent initiative, chaired by Professor Mark Durkin, enabled graduates to interact with guest executives who discussed their experience as practising marketers, change agents and strategic thinkers.

Dr Mary Boyd and Dr Sharon Ponsonby McCabe of the  Department of Marketing, Entrepreneurship and Strategy facilitated this “marketing conversation” between their students and five senior marketing executives from a range of sectors. The guests were Joe Crowe, Head of Operations and Change at Bank of Ireland Group; Valerie Ludlow, Director of Strategy at Anderson Spratt Group (ASG); Lesley McClure, Visiting Professor in Market Research at University of Ulster Business School; Edward Canning, Digital Lead and Account Director at Navigator Blue; and Nuala Loughlin of Bryson  Charitable Group. 

Professor Durkin, who chaired the event, characterised it as “a relaxed and informal conversation on marketing employability where stories, recollections and advice from the seasoned executives came more naturally than would be the case through a more prepared powerpoint delivery.”

A key issue which emerged from the conversation was the fact that while skills can be easily copied and indeed commoditised especially in the digital space, knowledge and thinking ability cannot. It was agreed that the imperative for success as a marketing graduate wasn’t in the qualification itself but in how the individual uses and applies that valuable learning and consistently demonstrates personal qualities of individuality, perseverance, adaptability, enthusiasm and achieves an appropriate balance of thought and action in their marketing role. 

Bank of Ireland’s Joe Crowe commented that ‘it goes beyond the degree certificate – everyone has a degree - into what you as a person can demonstrate from that learning which will add value to the company. Valerie Ludlow from ASG and Partners agreed and advised new graduates ‘expect to arrive at the office first, leave last and make themselves available to learn at every opportunity.’ Lesley McClure, formerly MD of IPSOS MORI added that ‘perseverance is critical – applying for jobs is a competitive process. If rejections come, and inevitably they will, keep trying and keep adapting yourself to the needs of potential employers – research their needs, learn about those companies you want to work with, push yourself to really market what you can offer to them.’ 

The Marketing Institute of Ireland offers graduates of the BSc and MSc Marketing programmes graduate membership of the Institute through a case study exam hosted by Ulster University. 

PHOTO: Back row (L-R), standing are: Edward Canning, Navigator Blue; Joe Crowe, Bank of Ireland; Nuala Loughlin, Bryson Charitable Group; Lesley McClure, former MD, IPSOS MORI Ireland. Front row, sitting are Mark Durkin, Professor of Marketing, Ulster University Business School; Valerie Ludlow, ASG & Partners.

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Featured Member: Joelle Coghlan, Global Marketing Manager, Dell

Posted By The Marketing Institute, Monday 16 May 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.  



Joelle currently serves as the Global Marketing Manager for Dell’s Telecommunications vertical business and has over 18 years working in the IT sector in both sales, technical and marketing roles.  

She is extremely focused on listening and working with Dell’s customers and teams in the communications vertical space, but has expertise in the OEM solutions business and global brand and product marketing management.

Joelle is based in beautiful Ireland, serving global markets and working with the Dell ecosystem of partners, NEP's and service providers. She has a BSc, MBA, and is a scholarship candidate for an MSc program right here in Dublin’s Institute of Technology (DIT), specializing in Data Analytics and Digital Marketing, which is delivered by The Marketing Institute and DIT.


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Google Analytics 360 Suite – Measurement & Insight To Action & Optimisation

Posted By iProspect, Tuesday 10 May 2016

In today’s competitive digital landscape, the ability to collect, segment and activate consumer data effectively is more important than ever to marketing success. And with companies utilising sophisticated analytics and marketing platforms three times more likely to outperform their peers, the demand for an integrated suite of tools which allows marketers to analyse the customer journey right down to the conversion is greater than ever.

But marketers don’t just want more data; they need a collection of powerful tools which allows them to analyse and understand data, gain useful insight and then action these insights to deliver optimised customer experiences.

Google recently announced a much anticipated update to its analytics offering, unveiling the Google Analytics 360 Suite. A set of integrated data analysis and marketing products aimed at the enterprise level marketer. The new suite consists of a mix of brand-new and rebranded products.

Google Analytics 360 will replace Google’s existing enterprise level analytics offering, Google Analytics Premium. This will act as the measurement centrepiece of the Analytics 360 Suite, providing consumer insight across all devices and touchpoints. While no major updates or new features have been announced as of yet, Google has promised some exciting developments in the future.

Google Analytics 360 users will also have access to a standalone and enterprise level version of Google’s industry leading tag management system, Google Tag Manager. Google Tag Manager 360 has been built from the existing product and promises to streamline workflows, offer more simplified data collection and provide powerful APIs to increase the accuracy of data collected.

Google Attribution 360, a completely rebuilt version of Google’s Adometry software, will provide attribution solutions in the suite. Attribution 360 allows marketers to measure and optimise media spend across all channels, both online and offline, and make a real impact on customer journey and return on investment.

Google Data Studio 360, a brand new data analysis and visualisation product, integrates the data from across the Analytics 360 Suite of products and allows marketers to create interactive dashboards and reports. Built using Google Docs technology, Data Studio 360 also allows for real-time sharing and collaboration of data between team members.

Google Optimize 360, a content personalisation and testing tool, is another new offering from Google. This allows marketers to action the insights they have gained from their data by performing A/B and multivariate tests, personalise content based on audiences or customer segments and deliver experiences that work best for customers.

Perhaps the most significant part of this announcement is the launch of Google’s first data management platform (DMP). Google Audience Center 360 will help marketers to understand and target their customers and similar audiences across various channels, devices and campaigns. While Google have confirmed that Audience Center 360 will be open to third party data providers and demand-side platforms, its native integration with DoubleClick and AdWords makes this a potential game changer for search marketers.

The introduction of a DMP will make Google’s analytics offering much more competitive to enterprise level marketers in the future. This will put Google in direct competition with more established products in the market such as Adobe’s Marketing Cloud and Oracle’s BlueKai. Google will also be better positioned to compete with Facebook’s “people-based” ad platform, Atlas, which has threatened the search giant’s advertising dominance.

This will also see Google compete directly with other content personalisation and optimisation tools on the market. While Google Analytics has allowed site testing through Content Experiments for some time now, its capabilities have long been surpassed by easy-to-use tools such as Optimizely.

While the potential benefits for Google are apparent, the Google Analytics 360 Suite also represents an exciting opportunity for enterprise-level marketers. In today’s digital environment, it is more difficult than ever to get a complete view of the consumer journey as users switch devices and paths to conversion become more fragmented. It is even more difficult to then make sense of that journey and turn data into action.

Where tools do exist to answer these marketing questions, they are often difficult to use, poorly integrated or require expensive and hard to find expertise. With the Google Analytics 360 Suite, Google has focused on making these tools accessible while providing marketers with actionable insights which have a real impact on performance.

While details are scarce at present and the suite is far from the finished product – four of the six products are still in limited BETA – this is potentially a huge development in the world of web analytics, audience segmentation, attribution and optimisation. Google have even boasted that this new product will do for marketing analytics what Google Search did for web search.

Whether or not this will be the case remains to be seen, but this is something we will be watching very closely ahead of its full launch in May 2016.

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iProspect globally has 71 offices in 50 countries, operates in 70+ languages, has more than 2,500 members of staff and has global billings in excess of $2.1 billion.
iProspect Ireland is the only dedicated ‘performance digital’ agency in the country and the only digital agency in Ireland that is part of a global network. As part of the Dentsu Aegis Network Ireland, iProspect is part of a group that includes media agencies Carat and Vizeum, creative digital agency Isobar and online trading platform Amnet.

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The Latest JNLR Radio Listenership Figures

Posted By Carat, Monday 9 May 2016
Updated: Monday 16 May 2016

The latest JNLR report was released this week. This book covers April 2015 – March 2016. Below is a quick snapshot of all the movers and shakers in the industry and will have you up to speed in less than 10 minutes.

All data is compared to the previous 12 month period (April 2014 – March 2015). 


Surprisingly, the introduction of digital streaming services over the last few years has not had much of a detrimental impact on the Irish radio industry as a whole. There has been only slight fluctuation in overall listenership YOY (-1% to 83%) and the average time spent listening per day has remained almost static at just over 4 hours. Considering all the new players in this space, a decline of only 1% YOY is quite impressive.

Last year we saw a marginal increase in time spent listening by the younger audience, 15-19s, and this trend has continued again this year with time spent rising from 2.4 hrs to 2.47 hrs. Not a huge fluctuation, but unexpected nonetheless considering the wide range of options this audience looks to for listening to music. While overall time spent has remained pretty flat YOY, most age demographics have seen a drop: -9% YOY for 20-24s (3.4 hrs vs 3.7 hrs last year) and -3% YOY for 25-34s (3.4 hrs vs 3.7 hrs last year). This won’t come as much of a shock, as young audiences are becoming increasingly harder to reach using traditional media. Last year we saw 55-64s time spent listening drop by -7%; however this year we are only seeing -3% (4.7 hrs vs 4.9hrs last year). 


Overall, we’ve seen a 1% drop in National Radio listenership YOY. These figures look quite static, but when we delve into the programme slots we can see what’s really been happening on a more granular level.
RTE Radio 1 remains the market leader with 23.5% market share. It’s the only national station to see growth, with its daily reach increasing 2 points to 25%; an increase of 48,000 daily listeners. Morning Ireland and Live Line were clear winners, with increases of 43,000 and 24,000 weekly listeners respectively.
The story is not so positive for the rest of the nationals: 2FM are down -43,000, Today FM -61,000 and Newstalk -25,000. 2FM and Newstalk are neck and neck with 10% daily reach each; while Today FM is in second place at 12%.

It is probably too early to be able to measure the effects of 2FM’s re-brand; their current market share is down -1% YOY to 6.1%, and we are not able to compare their new show Breakfast Republic YOY, however they are pulling in 162,000 weekly listeners. With the re-brand looking to pulling in more of the 15-34 market for 2FM, and if we delve deep into the quarter hour figures, the station has seen YOY gains for this 15-34 audience in both the Breakfast Republic show, and also Tracey Clifford’s afternoon show. Book on book, Louise McSharry has shown gains in listenership in her evening show which pulls in a niche, music-savvy audience.

Although their daily reach is matching that of 2FM, Newstalk’s market share has only declined 0.4%, now standing at 6.2%. They have lost listeners across the schedule but the biggest loss has been from Pat Kenny, at -16,000.

Today FM had the biggest loss of listeners on the national front last year, and this has continued again this year. Their market share now sits at 7.5%; down from 8.6% YOY. Both Ian Dempsey & Matt Cooper, have lost listeners; 14,000 and 21,000 respectively. However, Anton Savage’s time slot has seen the biggest drop, down -37,000 to 175,000 vs last year’s survey which would have represented Ray D’Arcy in that time slot (212,000).

FM104 and Spin 1038 are continuing their tradition of 1st and 2nd in the Dublin market in terms of daily reach (18%; 14%); but Spin is now neck and neck with 98FM in terms of market share, both with 6.3%, after losing 2,000 listeners each. FM104 saw a very marginal decline last year of 1,000 but this has been recouped five-fold this year. The biggest loser has been Q102, with a loss of 16,000 listeners (-17% YOY).
Again Sunshine has shown itself to be a one to watch. This year has seen it gain 15,000 listeners which is a 33% increase YOY. Their market share has also moved in a positive direction from 3.4% to 4.8%; indicating their rebrand campaign has been successful.

There has been a major shake-up in the Cork radio market in recent years and the effects of this look set to continue: Red FM is still the market leader (after knocking Cork 96 out of pole position late last year) with 20.4% market share. Their daily reach has grown by 14% to 126,000 listeners. That said, Cork’s 96FM aren’t resting on their laurels; YOY their market share is only down 1.1%. C103’s market share has dropped slightly from 14.3% to 14%, with a 40% drop in listeners YOY.
Generally it is good news for the Urban Media stations; both Galway Bay and Limerick 95 have increased their daily reach by 12% and 28% respectively. However, WLR has seen a reduction of 4,000 listeners which equates to a 10% drop in daily reach for the station.


This post was originally published on



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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