Check out how our consumer habits have changed from travel to retail to socialising!


It seems like everywhere we go now people have conflicting mindsets and ideas about what’s safe, what’s worth the risk and what is not. Covid19 and all its restrictions have impacted us all, but what’s interesting is how differently we all react to them. It could be our news sources, our own bubble’s approach to lockdown and how vulnerable they are or it could just be a case of personality – some people are naturally more cautious than others.

Whether it’s one of those or all three, it’s fascinating to a lot of us that we’re all feeling different levels of confidence when it comes to reopening. And Core marketing* has conducted a market research project to see just how confident consumers are feeling about different aspects of our social life re-opening this summer in comparison to last year, including outdoor dining, foreign travel and visiting retail outlets.

woman in white red and black striped crew neck long sleeve shirt with face mask

If you think about yourself now, versus this time last year, where would you say you fall on these statistics?

Outdoor dining

67% are confident to dine outdoors by August as levels of concern drop significantly in comparison to this time last year. In 2020, only 51% were confident to dine outdoors, but the vaccine has created more confidence about the safety in dining outdoors. Plus the messaging that indoor transmission is the most common seems to be getting through to people.

Smiling elderly woman with family and friends enjoying dinner at table backyard garden


55% saying they visited retail outlets with clothing and shoe shops being the most popular since the re-opening (much higher in comparison to last year at 30%). And, twice as many people have visited a book shop compared to last year, with book shops visits increasing from 9% of adults in May/June 2020 to 22% of adults in May/June 2021– which is a fab statistic to hear! 50% say they visited a DIY shop and 43% say they have visited a garden centre, 38% have visited a home/furniture store and 28% have visited an electronic/phone shop.

Woman Fixing Clothes on the Rack


29% would travel abroad which is interesting as it is lower than last year at 33% even though we have a vaccine this year. I wonder if we’re used to being home now and taking advantage of our own beautiful country. We’re all dying to get away still, but I think a lot of us have learned to appreciate what is closer to home. Plus, the arrival of variants makes travel abroad that much more unpredictable this time around than this time last year.

Woman With a Face Mask Holding her Luggage


30% of us would feel confident enough to go to a music gig, which makes sense as generally these events happen outdoors, or any of the trial events that have happened have been spaced out and well monitored. 35% of people saying they have attended an outdoor gathering in May or June. And 50% of us feel confident in going to the cinema in July – which, I have to say is one I’ve been craving all this last lockdown. The smell of the popcorn, the losing yourself in another world for a few hours – it’s the simple things really.

Crop anonymous person with acoustic guitar at festival with many people in daytime

Generally, Core’s research revealed that levels of concern about COVID-19 in Ireland have reached a low last seen in July 2020 and we wonder at the timing of it. The vaccine roll-out has doubtless helped, as it led to 62% of adults saying they are optimistic Ireland can over-come the situation, while just 27% remain unsure. This research clearly shows the majority of Irish people are more confident and informed to socialise outdoors this summer in comparison to last. However, while the message of an outdoor summer is very much resonating with people, there is still caution around large gatherings and indoor socialising/dining. People’s confidence to dine indoors has increased only marginally from 43% last year to 51% this summer, compared to dining outdoors which has increased from 51% in the summer of 2020 to 67% in 2021.

man in red jacket wearing white mask

Speaking about these research findings, Core’s Business Director, Conor Hughes said:

“The message that outdoor is safest is definitely cutting through as we see the public are choosing outdoor environments over indoor settings. The focus this summer will be on re-connection between people, visiting friends and family we did not meet over the past year and remembering those who we have lost. It will be a summer of outdoor, safe gatherings and brands and businesses will need to acknowledge that people will be judging whether a “return to normal” is a good thing for them or not.”

*Methodology: Research was conducted between Saturday 5th to Sunday 13th June 2021, interviewing 1,000 Irish adults online and representative of the adult population in Ireland.