‘Women’s Quality of Life Most Impacted’ reveals Penneys first ‘Pulse of the Nation’ Index

17th April 2023

Posted In: FYI

A new Index launched today by Penneys with research carried out by Amárach Research reveals that the cost of living crisis is having a disproportionate effect on the quality of life on some people in Ireland – a person’s financial situation has almost twice the impact on quality of life compared to all other factors.

Despite the current financial pressures on the public, the Penneys ‘Pulse of the Nation’  Index has shown that over half (56%) of people in Ireland are happy with their quality of life, with high levels of satisfaction reported across a range of indicators including family life (82%) and mental health (69%).

With 37 stores right across Ireland from local towns to city centres and shopping centres, and offering something for everyone, Penneys is uniquely positioned to see how Irish consumers are spending their money and living their lives today. This new regular report will share insights into the shopping behaviours of its customers, the trends the retailer is seeing in its stores and how external factors and pressures are shaping these trends in consumers’ daily lives.

The first Index has revealed that during this cost of living crisis, the majority of people in Ireland have adapted their behaviour, becoming savvier than ever before with over nine in ten (95%) engaging in money saving hacks.

The Index showed that a typical person takes five actions on average to save money, including wearing warmer clothes at home to reduce heating costs (81%) and cancelling entertainment subscriptions (41%). Seven in ten (69%) report that their spending on essential living expenses has increased while over half (57%) of adults have admitted cutting their non-essential spending.

Money is firmly on the minds of consumers, with large purchases deferred by 62% of adults; 3 in 4 people are switching to more cost-effective service providers and retailers; and worryingly, one in four have admitted to skipping a bill to meet other financial priorities. Despite making these changes, half of adults are still struggling to manage their monthly outgoings.

Despite the current financial pressures, people in Ireland are still to looking to enjoy themselves and find some money for the little pleasures in life, with over a third of adults planning a trip abroad over the next three months.

Speaking about the launch of the inaugural Penneys Pulse of the Nation Index, Damien O’Neill, Head of Penneys Ireland and Northern Ireland, said:

 “We have launched the Penneys Pulse of the Nation Index to understand more broadly how people are feeling, and how savvy and adaptable Irish consumers are becoming in the face of financial pressures.”

While the cost of living crisis has touched every household, the Penneys’ Pulse of the Nation Index takes a deeper look and reveals that women, renters and families are feeling the biggest impact on their quality of life. Here we look further at how Women’s quality of life is most impacted according to the research.

‘Shecession’ – Women’s Quality of Life Most Impacted

The cost of living crisis is taking a disproportionate toll on women, who account for six in ten of those with the lowest quality of life. Women are less content with their financial situation (46%) compared to men (54%) and report lower levels of satisfaction with their mental health (66% female v 72% male) and physical health (56% female v 63% male). Women record higher levels of satisfaction when it comes to connection with their community (81% female v 76% male) and family life (85% female v 80% male).

Women in Ireland, who make up half the population, have responded quickly to the cost of living crisis. Seven in ten (70%) describe themselves as obsessed with finding the best value compared to over half of men (56%) – increasing to 78% for women with children.

The research also indicates that women are cutting back on spending more than men with 64% reducing their spend on non-essential items compared to half of men. 79% of women are treating themselves less often vs 66% of men; almost three quarters (74%) are spending less on socialising compared to 66% of men; approximately nine in ten (86%) are buying less clothing; and women are far more likely to wear warmer clothing or turn on the heat less – 86% of women compared to 76% of men.

The financial pressures on women weigh heavily on their outlook for the future as they have less confidence in the Irish economy, with six in ten women (63%) having a negative economic outlook compared to just four in ten (41%) of men.

Commenting on the research findings, Amárach Chairman Gerard O’Neill added: “This Index helps us see the bigger picture, beyond inflation and other pressures, reflecting how people are feeling about their lives.

The Penneys Pulse of the Nation Index has revealed that this is not an ‘equal opportunity’ cost of living crisis as it clearly identifies three key groups – families, women and renters – who are shouldering the financial burden and whose quality of life is impacted the most.

It will be fascinating to see how these trends develop in future reports as we monitor the range of factors shaping quality of life and the ongoing efforts of people in Ireland to navigate the cost of living challenge.”

The Penneys Pulse of the Nation Index can be downloaded here>>