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In June of this year Millward Brown Ulster utilised their bi-monthly omnibus survey to explore the extent to which people’s lives have changed compared to 6 months ago and which aspects are suffering most due to the current economic climate

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background to survey
In June of this year Millward Brown Ulster utilised their bi-monthly omnibus survey to explore the extent to which people’s lives have changed compared to 6 months ago and which aspects are suffering most due to the current economic climate

The survey was also conducted in August and February 2009, which provided benchmarks for this survey

Background to survey
slide3
The current economic climate is having an impact on all our lives in one way or another. Indeed, it seems to be biting harder in the last 6 months

Labour Force Survey figures for the period (February-April) reveal that of the Northern Ireland population at working age, 68% are currently employed. This represents an increase of just under 2 percentage points since last year. However, this figure is still below the UK working age employment average of almost 73%

Encouragingly, there were fewer redundancies over the January to March period than in any other quarter since June 2008. In May, the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment was informed of 81 proposed redundancies and 98 confirmed redundancies

Contextual information

slide4

The pursuit that appears to be suffering most is our propensity to eat out in restaurants. 41% are eating out in restaurants less often than 6 months ago. Takeaway food habits are suffering but to a lesser extent, with over a third (34%) stating they eat or buy takeaways less often. Our love of fast food is also being compromised with a third (33%) claiming they are eating it less often.

Eat or Buy Takeaways

Eat or Buy Fast Food

Eat Out in Restaurants

More Often

Same

Less Often

Thinking about your social and leisure pursuits now compared to 6 months ago, how frequently would you do the following? Would you say you now do the following more often, less often, or the same as 6 months ago?

Source: Millward Brown Ulster Omnibus Base: 1032 Respondents *Don’t knows have been excluded. Please see detailed tables

slide5

There have been marginal changes in the eating habits which are happening less often over the past 6 months, compared to 2009 figures for eating out and eating/buying fast food. The figures suggest that whilst young people aged 16-24 are less cautious with regard to eating out in restaurants (only 34% less often) those perhaps tightening their belts hardest are aged 25-34 ,with over half (51%) eating out less often. A similar pattern emerges regarding consumption of takeaways and fast food.

Age

Thinking about your social and leisure pursuits now compared to 6 months ago, how frequently would you do the following? Would you say you now do the following more often, less often, or the same as 6 months ago?

Source: Millward Brown Ulster Omnibus Base: Respondents 1007 Feb-09 / 1023 Aug-09/1032 Jun 10

slide6

Our social lives are also being sacrificed to a certain degree. Almost 3 in 10 (29%) of us are watching DVDs at home more often, rather than going to the cinema. A fifth (20%) are now drinking at home more often, instead of going out to pubs. Our propensity to drink alcohol has been least impacted with 7 in 10 (70%) drinking the same as they did 6 months ago.

Watch DVDs instead of Cinema

Drink Alcohol

Drink at Home

More Often

Same

Less Often

Thinking about your social and leisure pursuits now compared to 6 months ago, how frequently would you do the following? Would you say you now do the following more often, less often, or the same as 6 months ago?

Source: Millward Brown Ulster Omnibus Base: 1032 Respondents *Don’t knows have been excluded. Please see detailed tables

slide7

There has been some change since 2009 in terms of decreased cinema visiting in favour of watching DVDs at home. This behaviour is particularly prevalent in 16-24 year olds where almost half (49%) are watching DVDs instead of going to the cinema more often. Whereas over 3 in 10 (31%) of 25-34 year olds are drinking at home more often, suggesting this is an area of their social life affected in recent months.

Age

Thinking about your social and leisure pursuits now compared to 6 months ago, how frequently would you do the following? Would you say you now do the following more often, less often, or the same as 6 months ago?

Source: Millward Brown Ulster Omnibus Base: Respondents 1007 Feb-09 / 1023 Aug-09/ 1032 Jun-10

slide8

Our buying habits are also being affected , with nearly a third (32%) buying clothing and shoes less often. Almost 2 in 5 (37%) females and over 2 in 5 (41%) 25-34 year olds have reduced their spending habits on these items.

Buy clothes or shoes

More Often

Same

Less Often

Less Often

Thinking about your social and leisure pursuits now compared to 6 months ago, how frequently would you do the following? Would you say you now do the following more often, less often, or the same as 6 months ago? Source: Millward Brown Ulster Omnibus Base: 1032 Respondents *Don’t knows have been excluded. Please see detailed tables

slide9

The current economic climate is also having an impact on some people’s hobbies, with attendance at sporting fixtures happening less often amongst a fifth (20%). Use of a gym or leisure facilities has also decreased over the last 6 months for nearly a fifth (19%) of the population.

Use Gym or Leisure Facilities

Attend Sporting Fixtures

More Often

Same

Less Often

Thinking about your social and leisure pursuits now compared to 6 months ago, how frequently would you do the following? Would you say you now do the following more often, less often, or the same as 6 months ago?

Source: Millward Brown Ulster Omnibus Base: 1032 Respondents *Don’t knows have been excluded. Please see detailed tables

slide10

Since August 2009 there has been a reversal in shifts in behaviours involving hobbies. There has been increases in the number of people claiming to be using gym / leisure facilities and attending sporting fixtures less often.

Age

Age

Thinking about your social and leisure pursuits now compared to 6 months ago, how frequently would you do the following? Would you say you now do the following more often, less often, or the same as 6 months ago?

Source: Millward Brown Ulster Omnibus Base: Respondents 1007 Feb-09 / 1023 Aug-09/ 1032 Jun10

slide11

Other leisure activities such as short breaks and day trips are also suffering . Going on short breaks is a rarer occasion than it was 6 months ago for 3 in 10 (30%). The same applies to day trips with a quarter (25%) confessing to taking them less often.

Take Short Breaks

Go on Day Trips

More Often

Same

Less Often

Thinking about your social and leisure pursuits now compared to 6 months ago, how frequently would you do the following? Would you say you now do the following more often, less often, or the same as 6 months ago?

Source: Millward Brown Ulster Omnibus Base: 1032 Respondents *Don’t knows have been excluded. Please see detailed tables

slide12

Again further sacrifices are evident when it comes to our travel behaviour, with a marginal rise in the number of people taking short breaks and day trips less often than they were 6 months ago.

Age

Thinking about your social and leisure pursuits now compared to 6 months ago, how frequently would you do the following? Would you say you now do the following more often, less often, or the same as 6 months ago?

Source: Millward Brown Ulster Omnibus Base: Respondents 1007 Feb-09 / 1023 Aug-09/ 1032 Jun-10

slide13

Over a fifth (21%) are actively involved more often in DIY than paying for tradesmen, than they were 6 months ago. Those aged 25-34 year olds (26%) were particularly availing for this cost saving measure.

Age

Do DIY Instead of Paying for Odd Jobs

More Often

Same

Less Often

Thinking about your social and leisure pursuits now compared to 6 months ago, how frequently would you do the following? Would you say you now do the following more often, less often, or the same as 6 months ago?

Source: Millward Brown Ulster Omnibus Base: 1032 Respondents *Don’t knows have been excluded. Please see detailed tables

slide14

Habitual grocery shopping has been impacted. Compared to the last 6 months, purchasing of organic produce has been most affected with a fifth (20%) agreeing they now buy it less often. Overall, purchasing of fruit and vegetables has remained most consistent with two thirds (69%) maintaining existing behaviour. Almost 2 in 5 (37%) of us are now buying more promotional products regardless of the brand.

Buy Products on Promotion

Regardless of Brand

Buy Fruit and Veg

Buy Organic Produce

More Often

Same

Less Often

Thinking about your grocery shopping habits compared to 6 months ago, would you say you now do the following more often, less often, or the same as 6 months ago?

Source: Millward Brown Ulster Omnibus Base: 651 Housekeepers *Don’t knows have been excluded. Please see detailed tables

slide15

The food produce suffering most appears to be organic produce, with an increase in the number of people claiming to buy it less often. There has also been an increase in those who are becoming less brand loyal in favour of promotions. However, there have been increases in those claiming to buy fruit and vegetables more often.

Age

Thinking about your grocery shopping habits compared to 6 months ago, would you say you now do the following more often, less often, or the same as 6 months ago?

Source: Millward Brown Ulster Omnibus Base: Housekeepers 673 Feb-09 / 633 Aug-09 / 651 Jun-10

slide16

A fifth (20%) claim to be purchasing processed food or ready made meals less often. This home cooking philosophy is also supported by almost 2 in 5 (36%) who claim to make meals from scratch more often . Cheaper cuts of meat are more popular with over a fifth (21%) buying them more often.

Buy Processed Food or Ready-Made Meals

Make Meals from Scratch

Buy Cheaper Cuts of Meat

More Often

Same

Less Often

Thinking about your grocery shopping habits compared to 6 months ago, would you say you now do the following more often, less often, or the same as 6 months ago?

Source: Millward Brown Ulster Omnibus Base: 651 Housekeepers *Don’t knows have been excluded. Please see detailed tables

slide17

Purchasing of processed food or ready-made meals is still on the decline with an increase in those buying less often since this time last year. Those making meals more often from scratch has dramatically increased, while purchasing cheaper cuts of meat more often has declined marginally over the months, suggesting that housekeepers are not choosing to further sacrifice on quality of meat produce but rather change their cooking processes from ready made to self-made to achieve cost efficiencies.

Age

Thinking about your grocery shopping habits compared to 6 months ago, would you say you now do the following more often, less often, or the same as 6 months ago?

Source: Millward Brown Ulster Omnibus Base: Housekeepers 673 Feb-09 / 633 Aug-09 / 651 Jun-10

slide18

Earlier it was shown that almost 2 in 5 respondents were now buying promotional products regardless of brand. This decline in brand snobbery is reinforced by over a third (35%) who buy cheaper brands or own brand products more often than they used to. Once again, it is clear that housekeepers are changing the way in which they conduct their grocery shopping with these respondents down-trading to cheaper or own brands.

Age

  • Buy Cheaper Brands or Own Brands

More Often

Same

Less Often

Thinking about your grocery shopping habits compared to 6 months ago, would you say you now do the following more often, less often, or the same as 6 months ago?

Source: Millward Brown Ulster Omnibus Base: 651 Housekeepers *Don’t knows have been excluded. Please see detailed tables

slide19

Grocery shopping is now likely to take longer for almost half the population (47%) who shop around to get better value more often. Almost a third (30%) buy fresh produce from a supermarket rather than a specialist outlet more often than 6 months ago. 15% are also bring a packed lunch more often, one of the key areas experts suggest is a relatively easy way to save money.

Buy from Fresh Food from Supermarket rather than Butchers or Greengrocers

Shop Around to get Better Value

Buy Food for Packed Lunch

More Often

Same

Less Often

Thinking about your grocery shopping habits compared to 6 months ago, would you say you now do the following more often, less often, or the same as 6 months ago?

Source: Millward Brown Ulster Omnibus Base: 651 Housekeepers *Don’t knows have been excluded. Please see detailed tables

slide20

While there has been an increase in those, more often, buying fresh produce from the supermarket and buying food for packed lunches, shopping around to get better value more often is at a similar level to 2009.

Age

Thinking about your grocery shopping habits compared to 6 months ago, would you say you now do the following more often, less often, or the same as 6 months ago?

Source: Millward Brown Ulster Omnibus Base: Housekeepers 673 Feb-09 / 633 Aug-09 / 651 Jun-10

slide21

Just over 1 in 10 (11%) of those in employment feel their job is more secure than it was 6 months ago. In direct comparison, nearly 1 in 4 (24%) regard their job as being less secure. Of those in employment nearly a fifth (18%) of females believe their job is less secure than it was 6 months ago, compared to almost a third (31%) of males who were less optimistic about their employment future.

GENDER

Total Sample

n=482

Male

n=221

Female

n=261

A lot more secure

A little more secure

As secure as 6 months ago

A little less secure

A lot less secure

Compared to 6 months ago, do you consider your job to be more or less secure?

Source: Millward Brown Ulster Omnibus Base: 482 Respondents who are in employment *Don’t knows have been excluded. Please see detailed tables

slide22

Employment inactivity is higher among those aged 16-24 (probably influenced by the number still in secondary and tertiary education). However, those in a job are less likely to feel their position is threatened. Those aged 25-34 are more likely to feel their job is as secure as it was 6 months ago, but almost a quarter (24%) of this group were also concerned regarding job security.

AGE

Total Sample

n=482

16-24

n=77

25-34

n=141

35-49

n=185

50-64

n=76

A lot more secure

A little more secure

As secure as 6 months ago

A little less secure

A lot less secure

Compared to 6 months ago, do you consider your job to be more or less secure?

Source: Millward Brown Ulster Omnibus Base: 482 Respondents who are in employment *Don’t knows have been excluded. Please see detailed tables

slide23

Over the last 12 months the working conditions of over half the population (56%) have remained stable within their household. Almost 1 in 10 (7%) have been made redundant or put on reduced working hours (7%). Pay freezing and salary cuts have been less common.

Experienced a negative impact

Over the last 12 months, which, if any, of these have happened to anyone in your household?

Source: Millward Brown Ulster Omnibus Base: 1032 Respondents *Don’t knows have been excluded. Please see detailed tables

slide25

Financial prospects for the future look somewhat gloomy for nearly half of the population (48%) who stated that their household is likely to be worse off due to the government’s plans for reducing public sector spending. Those who believed they would be hardest hit were 35-49 year olds (54% worse position) and 50 -64 year olds (58% worse position).

Expecting to be in a worse position

Substantially better position

Marginally better position

The same position

Marginally worse position

Substantially worse position

With the new government in place and plans for reducing public sector spending do you think your household will be in a…

Source: Millward Brown Ulster Omnibus Base: 1032 Respondents *Don’t knows have been excluded. Please see detailed tables

slide26

The perceived impact of public sector spending cuts appeared to reach beyond just those employed in the sector, as the high levels of concern expressed in the previous chart were despite the fact that only 3 in 10 (30%) lived in households where someone was directly employed by the public sector.

None

One

Two

Three or more

How many, if any members of your household are employed in the public sector

Source: Millward Brown Ulster Omnibus Base: 1032 Respondents *Don’t knows have been excluded. Please see detailed tables

slide28

The final question addressed the issue of travel disruption as a result of volcanic ash. Whilst the vast majority were unaffected, over 1 in 10 (11%) of the population had experienced delays or cancellations. A small minority has also changed their travel behaviour or holidays patterns, with 3% not travelling at all, 3% opting for holidaying at home, 7% delaying booking and 8% opting to travel as part of a package rather than independently.

Yes

No

How, if at all, has the recent volcanic ash situation affected your travel to date or your future plans to travel?

Source: Millward Brown Ulster Omnibus Base: 1032 Respondents *Don’t knows have been excluded. Please see detailed tables

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