An Emotional Journey

Back in April 2009 we launched the Economic Recovery Index, a unique combination of consumer sentiment, emotional wellbeing and mood measurement.

This month marks the 10th anniversary and we thought it would be worth reviewing the main trends since the dark days of Ireland's of Ireland's economic recession.

Peak Index

As it happens, this month - April 2019 - sees our Economic Recovery Index reach its highest level ever:

The Index is derived from answers to the question:

Q. Which of the following statements best describes the economic situation in Ireland right now?

  • the economic situation in Ireland is getting worse
  • the economic situation is bad but has stabilized
  • the economic situtation is bad but showing a few signs of improvement
  • the economic situation is getting better and showing clear signs of improvement
  • the economic situation is good and almost fully recovered

Answers are weighted to create an Index that runs from zero (total doom and gloom) to 100 (total boom and bloom).  That said, we're still below the 'halfway mark' in terms of potential recovery as only a nadful think the economy is fully recovered.  You can view the full 10 years data set here

Consumer Behaviour

In terms of consumer responses to Ireland's changing economic fortunes, we have seen a cautious recovery in spending intentions, but a continuing focus on savings:

If anything, our measure of consumer spending intentions has flattened since last year.

Other factors we track are willingness to borrow from banks vs paying down debts. Again there has been a slight improvement in the former, but the latter remains dominant:

Finally, we have tracked price sensitivity in the Irish population vs willingness to buy Irish - as the economy has improved, price sensitivity has moderated while willingness to buy Irish has increased significantly in the past five years:

Emotional Recovery

One of the most interesting aspects of our ERI tracking has been measuring the emotional wellbeing of the Irish nation.

We used a question developed by Gallup which simply asks whether the respondent experienced a lot of different emotions 'yesterday'. 

It provides a fascinating insight into the emotional side of our economic rollercoaster over the past 10 years. Firstly, a mix of positive and negative emotions:

While the negative emotions of stress and worry have declined fairly consistently since 2013, the positive emotions of enjoyment and happiness have not had a 'reverse' experience. Indeed, these latter also declined even as the economy recovered, though there is some evidence they may be on the way back up.

As for other emotions, we find:

Again, most of these negative emotions have trended downward as our economic fortunes have improved, though they appear to have levelled off in recent years, suggesting perhaps that we have gotten all the 'emotional return' from a better economy, at least for now.

We'll keep tracking our emotional as well as our economic journey in the months and years ahead, and hopefully report further improvements in the mood of the nation.


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