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Optimism Makes a Welcome Return in Latest Core Research

The decline in the number of daily Covid-19 cases, the election of Joe Biden as the next president of the USA and news of a vaccine breakthrough has reignited consumer optimism levels, according to Finian Murphy, marketing director of Core.

As we look towards planning a very different and adapted Christmas, there are signs of hope and optimism in the air. At the start of this week, there was significant talk about vaccine progress. This follows a rollercoaster of a US election, resulting in the election of Biden and Harris (whether he likes it or not) and the continued decline of COVID-19 cases in most areas of the country.

Our Cultural Index, which measures the news stories which shape Irish culture highlighted the emotional impact these moments had on the Irish public. While many had no interest in the US election, over 40% of people went as far as saying they were “happy” about the result and three in four people said they were “happy” about the declining cases of COVID-19.

This happiness is translating into the optimism levels in our Core COVID-19 tracker. For the first time since 1st September, a slight majority (51%) are optimistic that Ireland can overcome COVID-19. This has sharply risen since before the Level 5 restrictions when the public were wanting tighter restrictions and greatly concerned about the situation.

Concern has declined in line with the incidence rate of the virus. While not as low as early June, the public are still cautious, with 56% saying they are very or extremely concerned. This will play a key role in determining whether people return to physical retail and recreation when Level 5 restrictions are reduced. With a heightened level of concern, and our recent Core Christmas research showing two-third plan to shop online more, it is unlikely there will be significant pent-up demand for physical retail when the doors open. Retail will continually have to provide safe options, click and collect and delivery.

With this increased level of public hope and optimism about the future, paired with a cautious approach, how will this influence consumer confidence leading up to one of the busiest periods for many brands? There remains to be significant support and approval for local businesses and shops and the next few weeks will hopefully see this sentiment convert into transactions. This would be key to sustaining local economies into 2021.

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