Irish businesses expect to spend more on marketing next year, according to new research carried out by Amárach Research on behalf of the DMG-owned Business Plus magazine.
According to the research, 30% of businesses expect to invest more in marketing in 2024 while 54% expect to hold their marketing investment at 2023 levels with just 7% expecting their marketing budget to decrease.
The research also revealed that businesses invested around 10.7% of turnover in marketing this year and that this is expected to rise to 11.6% in 2024.
The Amárach research formed part of a much wider tranche of research that surveyed 1,200 individuals and 200 businesses as part of the PLAN 24 which examines a wide range of economic and social trends.
When it came to how companies would invest their marketing budgets, no one medium dominated according to the research. Of those surveyed, social media (55%) topped the list followed by online (49%), direct marketing (40%), PR (30%), trade magazines (22%), newspapers (21%), radio (19%) and TV (8%).
The research also revealed that 43% of businesses surveyed are more optimistic about the prospects for their own business in 2024 with just 32% expressing less optimism. The remaining 27% don’t see any change in their levels of optimism.
When it came to the drivers of growth for their business next year, demand from existing customers (48%) topped the list followed by new customers (35%), the right number of staff with key skills (31%) and increased prices (26%).
In terms of the wider research into consumer views, the PLAN 24 research shows that one in seven of the respondents (14%) believe that the economy is showing clear signs of improvement or has almost fully recovered from the surge in consumer price inflation and the impact of higher borrowing costs.
The research reveals that financial resilience has improved over the last year with 51% saying their household could afford to pay an unexpected expense of €1000, which is up from 39% in 2022.
In addition, 50% of respondents believe that the economic situation in Ireland is getting worse, down from 80% who felt the same in a similar survey conducted in April 2022.
However, despite increasing consumer confidence, the survey results also show that consumers are feeling the impact of inflation with half of those surveyed still worried they won’t be able to pay for basic necessities in the near future.
Four out of five (80%) survey respondents are re-evaluating their lifestyles to consume less or have stopped buying certain things because they are too expensive.
The Business Plus PLAN 24 survey also explored consumers’ long-term expectations and modern parenting and found that hard work, determination, perseverance, imagination, and thrift have assumed greater importance for parents in terms of the qualities they want their children to grow up with.
In addition, 72% of those surveyed feel better off or much the same as they did ten years ago while one in five (20%) are expecting to be worse off in 2033 than they are today.
The Business Plus PLAN 24 research was unveiled at an event in the Westbury Hotel for 150 guests which was hosted by DMG Media CEO Paul Henderson earlier this week in the Westbury Hotel.
Gerard O’Neill, Chairman of Amárach Research who presented the results joined a panel discussion with Danny McCoy, CEO, Ibec and Caroline Spillane, CEO Institute of Directors in Ireland. Nick Mulcahy, editor, Business Plus chaired the panel discussion.
“At DMG Media we are in the unique position of delivering an extensive consumer audience through our websites and newspapers as well as an influential B2B audience with Business Plus and www.businessplus.ie, “ said Paul Henderson.
“Global shocks, misinformation, higher consumer expectations, talent gaps and the rapid pace of AI adoption are all challenges faced by leaders today. We hope the deep insights provided by Amárach research for our PLAN 24 report will help business decision makers in the year ahead.
We were delighted to partner with Ibec and the Institute of Directors in Ireland on this project and I would like to thank Caroline Spillane and Danny McCoy for their time and insights,” Henderson added.
According to Gerard O’Neill, Amárach: “Irish consumers have survived a pandemic and energy crisis in short succession and understandably they are wondering what comes next. The good news from the PLAN 24 report is that consumers are cautiously optimistic about the future: both in the immediate future but also over the rest of the decade. Buoyed up by substantial savings – especially those accrued during the pandemic which have not yet been spent – consumers are ready, willing and able to spend on the experiences and services that matter most to them and their families.
“But the future will be driven by deeper currents of change: our research has identified a stronger and more positive sense of Irish identity than before. Additionally, the investment by Irish businesses in innovation and marketing revealed in our research that it is likely we will see a much stronger and more confident consumer market in Ireland compared to much of the rest of Europe.”