COVID 19: Consumer Sentiment Behaviour

April 30, 2020


Decisions on travel destinations will be withheld until the last moment for some.

Despite the uncertainty surrounding international travel, one-third of people hope for a long-stay trip abroad in the next 6 months. Not only a signal of hope, but also of effort and the financial consequences of cancellation. With substitution to Ireland holidays high, overseas travel restrictions are central to domestic performance.

COVID-19 has driven a re-appraisal of what is important in life.

A sharper focus has been placed on personal health, wellbeing and safety and also  personal relationships. Future plans for travel are more aspirational, creating memories pivotal. How these elements coalesce or recede will be shaped by the term of the crisis.

The volume of information on COVID-19 is proving difficult as some consciously reduce intake.

The constant feature of the pandemic across all communications channels can be overwhelming. This focuses the public toward Government communication and traditional media as trusted sources of information with social media avoided due to unreliability. The public will be looking to Fáilte Ireland for domestic travel guidance when the time arrives.

Ireland remains the preferred location for short-trips within the next 6 months, as opposed to abroad.

Q. Do you intend taking a SHORT BREAK of at least 1-3 nights in Ireland/Abroad in the next 6 months?

In contrast, there is a distinct preference for longer breaks abroad, although this has fallen sharply. Intention for long breaks in Ireland has remained fairly stable.

Q. Do you intend taking a LONG BREAK of at least 4 or more nights in Ireland or abroad in the next 6 months?

Intention for overseas travel endures not solely in the hope to have a summer break, but as there have been financial and personal commitments already made. The majority of those with international travel plans which are in doubt are receptive to replacing their trip abroad with a holiday in Ireland.

Sixty two percent (62%) of people reported to have postponed or cancelled travel plans abroad.

Q. How likely would you be to consider replacing your trip abroad with a holiday at home after the Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation has been resolved?

Qualitative research suggests the pandemic has fundamentally changed peoples hopes and dreams for the future; with a focus on appreciating life more prominent.

This re-appraisal of what is important brings to the fore personal health and wellbeing – the need to stay safe and have future security.

It has also placed a sharper focus on relationships, with bonding across generations of high importance. Travel ambitions are high and aspirational including bucket list destinations, greater discovery of Ireland, and a sense of unlimited freedom. Central to these experiences is enjoyment, personal fulfilment and creating memories.

Q. What are your hopes and dreams for the future?

  • Being happy, healthy & content
  • Staying safe, be worry free
  • Freedom without worry
  • Exercise outside of 2 km


  • Quality time with friends/ family
  • Bond with new grandchildren
  • Welfare and wellbeing of children
  • Marriage and children


  • Tick off travel bucket list
  • Discover more of Ireland
  • Travel the world in a camper van
  • Create memories


  • Better job / financial security
  • New, more meaningful job
  • Upskill and career change
  • Further study

Whilst eyes are on the future, the depth and duration of the crisis has driven many to limit information intake on Covid-19 due to a sense of being overwhelmed.

  • Strong sense of information overload as the crisis progresses
  • People will now typically only watch the main evening news for updates on the number of cases/deaths or the latest Government briefing.
  • Social media avoided as much as possible due to unreliability.
  • Traditional media and Government communication is most trusted.

And cautious optimism is beginning to show…

  • A sense of the ‘curve’ flattening
  • European countries easing restrictions providing hope that Ireland might follow
  • But a fear that easing restrictions too soon could see another spike of the virus

  • Quantitative research: Nationally representative sample of 1,300 people on the island of Ireland who have taken a holiday/short break in the past 12 months or intend to in the next 12 months. Research conducted on a weekly basis. Margin of error +/- 2.7% at the 50% level of response. Conducted by Kantar Ireland. 
  • Qualitative research: Online interviews via community panel with 48 respondents covering urban and rural areas, from 20-24 April. Conducted by Kantar Ireland.