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Sale of household goods soar despite housing shortage

Spending on household goods is up 12.7pc this year, as people’s disposable income continues to rise.

The volume of retail sales, which represents real growth, has grown rapidly since 2014, and is now well ahead of the last peak in 2007, according to the findings of the latest Consumer Market Monitor (CMM).

However, while the volume of sales is increasing, the actual value of sales is still 27pc below the peak level, suggesting that prices are still considerably lower than they were in the last boom.

According to Professor Mary Lambkin, author of the CMM, the signs are positive for continued growth going by indicators such as employment and rising incomes – in the first half of 2017 disposable income was up 5.6pc.
In addition, Professor Lambkin highlighted the drop in the value of sterling as another significant factor in enhancing consumer buying power in Ireland.

“The strength of demand is most evident in the housing market where mortgage approvals increased by 41pc in the first three months of 2017, and the number of homes purchased was up by 8pc, despite a shortage of supply. All types of household goods are all growing very strongly,” Professor Lambkin said.
The term household goods covers furniture and lighting, hardware, paints and glass, and electrical goods.

While all categories are experiencing growth, the level of growth across the three categories is varying.
Electrical goods recovered fastest from the recession and are now 42pc higher in volume than at the last peak in 2007.

Despite being slower to recover, furniture and lighting comes next and currently growing at the fastest rate, up 16pc for the year to the end of September, slightly above the last peak.

The weakest category, relatively speaking, is hardware, paints and glass, which would be closely tied to construction. However this category has picked up noticeably this year, up 9pc in volume terms for the year to the end of September.

The findings of the CMM were published today by the Marketing Institute of Ireland and UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School.

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