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Recession changes Northern Ireland retail patterns

By Claire McNeilly

Almost one in five of us in Northern Ireland are buying more own-label brands.

That’s according to a new Mintel report on Irish lifestyles — which also found that 17% of shoppers have turned their backs on mainstream supermarkets in favour of discount rivals such as Lidl.

The figures also reveal that 15% of people across the province actively make more effort to get the best deal.

Julie Sloan, Mintel Ireland manager, told us these purchasing patterns were likely to endure even when things improve economically.

“While this behaviour is evidence that many Northern Ireland consumers are adjusting to more austere economic circumstances, there is little to suggest that they will revert to former habits once the economy recovers,” she said.

“The credit crunch has sharpened price-consciousness among Northern Ireland consumers but value for money was an important factor in the pre-recession era as well.

“Even those consumers who have not been directly impacted through redundancy by the recession have seen their incomes eroded, whether through pay freezes/cuts, or future opportunities curtailed.

“This is why they feel they should be doing something in response, taking proactive action and, ultimately, regaining control.”

In May 2009, Mintel conducted a survey of 1,026 Northern Ireland adults aged 16 and over, asking them how their shopping behaviour has changed as a result of the recession.

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