I was interviewed by Susan Mitchell last week for a piece in the Sunday Business Post, published today. Her thesis is that the Irish middle class have discovered thrift. I think she's on to something: I certainly see it in surveys and focus groups around the country. In the past, shopping around for value was a sign you were stingy - now it is a sign you are shrewd.
Consumer attitudes certainly seem to be changing fast: as witness the findings in our recent survey for the National Consumer Agency which show 'price' replacing 'convenience' as the no. 1 driver of supermarket choice. Convenience has always been no. 1, even in the late 1980s when I first started doing market research in Ireland. Things really have changed.
I suspect consumers are going to become yet more price aware (and responsive) in the coming months. The wholesale price index for August (pdf) continues to show Irish manufacturers raising the price of goods manufactured for the home market (by +7.2%) and reducing those for export markets (by -1.3%). Ireland's increasingly shrewd shoppers might go global in their quest for value before too long.