Last week B&A Research and Insights and AAI brought us the latest findings in the Sign of the Times series. The twelfth in the series was presented by Luke Reaper and was a deep dive into behaviours and attitudes of the Irish people.

What’s positive is consumer confidence continues to rise, however in the last year the financial reality has become more polarised, middle classes and those from Dublin are more likely to have more ‘money in their pockets’ compared to last year whereas overall as a population there are less people ‘financially living comfortably’ and more ‘just getting by’. This brings a sense of nervousness and caution and the creation of a more frugal consumer.

75% have noticed an increase in the cost of living with 71% conscious how they spend their money. Yet there is a pent up desire from spending time with friends and getting back to a more active social life, which comes at a financial cost.



2020 has been about contrasting realities, whereas some enjoy no commute and extra time in bed others are overwhelmed by homeschooling and a sense of isolation. Similarly there are those learning new routines such as exercise whilst others float from work to couch.

85% of respondents are looking forward to returning to normality. However 59% don’t just want a direct return to the way it was. They want a better quality and pace of life, an appreciation of nature but also embracing exercise and home working.

The reality of work is that 60% miss their colleagues but now want the best of both worlds with 75% wanting to work from home a few days a week. Also new working practices are likely to impact other industries with 72% saying they will cut down on business travel by using technology instead.

There was an increase in objects of desire in the home from technology to homewares. We saw a lot of self-gifting which seems to be opportunistic in nature. Supporting local businesses is big with people wanting to spend mindfully and local businesses have responded by creating a better customer experience.

Post COVID we will see a reverting back to type in terms of socialising, exercise, holidaying, and more people working from home. There will be less online groceries purchases but more online shopping in general as we are moving to a more blended reality.



The pandemic is far from over and how it’s handled in next 12-18 months will determine future behaviours, but there are positive signs with consumer confidence rising and the economy reopening. 

Source: B&A Research & Insights (Sign of the Times 2021)

If you would like a more in-depth analysis of these points or we can help with your advertising needs please contact us at

Bringing your message to new urban audiences.


urbanmedia is now on Instagram, follow us @urbanmediairl.


We are urbanmedia and we’ll bring your brands closer to the people living, listening and consuming in urban Ireland.