Restrained spending for NI Christmas Shoppers
NI consumers are cagey about over-spending in the run up to festive season. According to the Northern Bank's Consumer Confidence Index for Northern Ireland shoppers remain financially cautious, suggesting this Christmas might be "less then exuberant". Prevailing worries around job security and long term financial stability are thought to be behind Consumers' fears. Whilst the survey suggests that expectations about job security improved marginally in September, with the number of people who felt their jobs would be under threat in the next year falling from 13% to 11%, in general the cautious mood of earlier in the year predominates.
Northern Bank economist Angela McGowan said one in five people remained pessimistic about job security. "While the results are somewhat disappointing, they do reflect the fact that the economic recovery in the local economy is still very weak," Ms McGowan said. She added "Although household confidence has gradually improved over the year, the latest findings show that in the last three months households have not experienced any dramatic improvement in terms of the economic recovery." As such, high cost items are likely to remain off this years Christmas list and the outlook for discretionary, non-essential spending remains fairly bleak.