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Reflecting Ireland: An insight into consumer behavioural change in Ireland - Changing Lives

6 April 2023

We have experienced a turbulent few years both globally and at home encompassing the cost-of-living crisis, war in Ukraine, and adjusting to life beyond the pandemic. With this turbulence has come a shift in behaviours, attitudes, values and priorities; some transient, some more lasting.

In this edition of Reflecting Ireland, we look at how we live, work, consume media and socialise has changed. We find that over a third of workers now do so in a hybrid way, half of us are socialising less than before the pandemic, while managing our money has become more difficult overall. We also find that women are currently feeling significantly more anxious than men.

As part of this report, we’ve partnered with behavioural scientist Claire Cogan of BehaviourWise to help us interpret the findings.

Changing Lifestyles

  • 7 in 10 say the way they spend their free time has changed since the pandemic. Females are experiencing the most change in this regard, 32% of females versus 23% of males say the way they spend their leisure time has changed a lot.
  • Some positive lifestyle choices have become easier to make in the period since the pandemic. 43% say it has become easier to exercise and 41% to cook from scratch.
  • Conversely, implementing financial practices such as controlling utility bills (63%), saving money (61%) and managing finances (52%) have all become harder.
  • Women are significantly more likely than males to strive to improve their quality of life (64% vs 58%), mental health (67% vs 53%) and physical health (63% vs 54%)
  • Half of us socialise less since the pandemic, with associated costs (57%) and habit (46%) being the biggest contributors to this decline.

Working Lives

  • Over a third (36%) of workers can work remotely (either fully or hybrid) while 62% work exclusively from their workplace.
  • The most sought-after benefit for workers is flexitime (54%), with half saying it is offered by their employer. 41% say hybrid working is important, with 39% saying it is available to them.
  • One area where employers are behind is the compressed work week, sought by 48% of us but available to fewer than 1 in 5 (18%).
  • 1 in 4 of 18-24 year olds cite the ability to avail of a career break as ‘very important’ in choosing a job, suggesting that future proofing talent retention will require providing opportunities to explore life outside of work.
  • Despite a need for flexibility, workers recognise that there are clear benefits to having a physical workplace with 7 in 10 agreeing that meeting colleagues face-to-face has a positive impact on their mood.
  • A third (33%) feel working from home regularly could negatively impact on their chances of promotion, increasing to 40% among.


  • Over half of the adult population (53%) say that they own a home while 1 in 3 (33%) are renting. Among those who do not currently own a home, 2 in 3 (66%) say that the prospect has become less achievable since the pandemic.
  • 16% of the population report that they are currently in the market (either casually or actively) to buy a home with first-time buyers making up the majority of home-seekers (57% of those in the market).
  • Energy efficiency has become a more considered option in recent years, with 4 in 10 (39%) stating that they would be more likely to purchase an energy efficient home and 30% more likely to consider retrofitting.

The Reflecting Ireland research series was conducted in February-March 2023 among a nationally representative sample of 1,000 adults aged 18+ in the Republic of Ireland.

Read the full Reflecting Ireland report here

Read our tips for wellbeing – The '3 Cs' here

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