Trends in Marketing in Ireland

In the past few years, there have been significant and wide-ranging changes to the social fabric of Ireland. This change is expected to continue through the 2022 census and this has been driven by the changing economic climate and the growing impact of new technology resulting in major changes to some people’s behaviour.



Highlights include:


· Dublin continues to grow

· Ageing population

· Population growth lowest in 20 years

· Increasing household size and multi-generational households

· Significant and varied non-Irish population

· Large Catholic majority but falling over time

· Growth in renting

· Growth in homes owned outright


The dominance of Dublin continues to grow where the largest percentage of the population reside with greater spending power. Dublin has a younger, better educated and more diverse population and workforce and acts as the primary location for the wealthiest elite, significant numbers of students and a younger professional class. It also has a heavily segmented population with rich and poor living in relative proximity.


“ Change has been driven by the economic climate and the growing impact of new technology resulting in major changes to some people's behaviour”

High house prices have led to a rise in renting in the past few years and a generational gap between young urban renters and suburban older people who have paid off their mortgages and have significant disposable income.

As with many European countries Ireland has an ageing population and a growing number of those over 65. The once simple split between the retired and the working population is blurring, and the retired cohort has diverged into different types of retirement. There is now a marked difference between the better off Senior Owners who largely own their properties outright and have better pension provision and savings and the Practical Pensioners who do not. These economic divisions are reflected in patterns of consumption, health, mobility and the need for care.


Historically Ireland has always been thought of as a large rural hinterland surrounding the major cities and local towns. Today, more of the population live in a few larger places. Nonetheless a significant number of people are spread thinly over the extensive rural areas. The growth of commuting and the developing infrastructure continues to spread the city into the rural areas. This has changed the function but not always the look of these areas. Many rural places still look rural but behave like suburbs. These areas can be seen as “Ruburbs” benefiting from internet access and large-scale car ownership to make this possible. However, a small but interesting trend is the escape of a limited number of urbanites to remote rural areas often in the west where they can find new ways of life.

It is hard to think about the housing of Ireland without thinking of estates. For years, a wide spectrum of differing types of estates has spread around its major cities and towns and especially round greater Dublin. But the range of types of estates is vast, from the exclusive High-Flying families to the poorest and most socially deprived local authority rental estates. It is this segmentation of estates that best illustrates the importance of targeting for commercial and public policy purposes to reach the right people.

In the past few years, there have been significant and wide-ranging changes to the social fabric of Ireland.


Within these trends we can see the emergence of a set of new types of places and people including:

  • Elite – the rise of the ultra-affluent

  • Boomerangs - Households with returning or never leaving adult children leading to multi-generational households

  • Ruburbs – Suburbs that are in rural areas but function in a similar way

  • Rural Escapees – people choosing to turn their back on the big city and change their lifestyle

  • Uniland – the pockets of student renters focused around the major universities

  • Senior Owners – retired and pre-retired people that have paid off their mortgages and own their property outright

There are over 4.75 million people in Ireland of which 43% live around Dublin and the surrounding counties. Since 2011 Dublin has had the most significant growth of population in the country at just under 6% with Cork second at slightly over 4½% and Galway a little over 4%. The capital dominates Ireland with the youngest, most affluent, best educated residents and the highest house prices in the country.


Using a marketing segmentation tool such as Mosaic Ireland, organisations can now identify with certainty the new consumer, household and location types within the Irish population and enable relevant communications with them.

Dublin has the highest volume of three key Mosaic Ireland groups that are found much more rarely in the rest of Ireland. The most affluent elite groups living in the most expensive properties and exclusive neighbourhoods, the young Urban professionals with aspirations to advance their careers and the large number of students and the staff and services to support them.

The bulk of the families and older populations live further out beyond the centre in a wide range of estates and suburbs. The city centre remains younger, with many people renting. There are still pockets within the inner city that suffer from varying levels of deprivation.

However, Dublin is not without its issues with a number of areas of the capital showing social problems and even a downwards trend over the past few years. The gap between the rich and poor has increased compounding these social concerns.

Let us have a closer look at some of these groups:


Mosaic A: Established Wealth

These are families and couples who have achieved affluent financial status. Their homes and possessions reflect their success, and they are confident in their consumer choices.

Mature in age, some of these married couples have children but many are enjoying extra space and resources since the younger generation have grown up and left home.

High-quality houses that are generous in size provide them with a comfortable home environment. These properties are located in sought-after neighbourhoods accessible to city connections. They attract a premium on the market and represent a significant investment. Homes are maintained to an excellent standard, with improvements and decoration undertaken in the chosen style of their owners. Many properties are owned outright, though some members of this group may still be making mortgage payments.


Mosaic I: Budgeting Families

Budgeting Families are families, many single parent families struggling to make ends meet. They are living mainly in Local Authority estates in the inner city and on the outskirts of the city.

Adults are often in their twenties, thirties or forties. Many are single. Most households have school-age children, often in higher than average numbers. Residents tend to settle in these neighbourhoods for some time.

They live in very low-cost houses that are usually rented from local authorities. These properties are in residential estates found in city suburbs or larger towns. Homes may be small, and larger families may find their living spaces quite crowded.

Those in employment typically make short commutes to semi-skilled or low-skilled jobs in the local area. These might be in caring, leisure or customer service roles or elementary jobs in processing. The number of adults in work is low, with many unable to work through unemployment or ill health or because they are looking after children.


Mosaic C: City Achievers

These are young people looking to accelerate their careers and ready to take opportunities that present themselves. They rent contemporary city spaces that are ideal for up-and-coming professionals.

Aged in their twenties and thirties, they have few responsibilities outside work to take up their time or resources. Some live alone; others are sharing bills by living with partners or friends. With many different nationalities represented, they are non-traditional in their outlook.

They have chosen to live close to city centres to be near job opportunities and entertainment. As they have yet to accumulate possessions, they don’t need large amounts of room. Their apartments and terraces are small, as real estate in these neighbourhoods is expensive, but are sufficient for their daily needs and for entertaining friends. Properties are usually privately rented, as many of these young people aren’t ready to commit to home ownership and want to be free to move as the need takes them.


Mosaic D: Urban Starters

Urban Starters are young people living in economical accommodation close to city centres. They are still developing their prospects, either through their studies or in trainee jobs.

Many are still at university and have only recently left their parents’ homes. Others are in their twenties or thirties and looking for opportunities to establish themselves. They are single, sometimes living alone and other times sharing with friends or a partner. They are cosmopolitan and multicultural, mixing their backgrounds and ideas in a non-traditional outlook.

They live in central areas that are close to businesses and shops, renting living spaces in apartments, bedsits or terraces. Homes rented from the private sector are small and often old, offering a budget way to live in a central location. Students may be renting modern, purpose-built accommodation from universities or private companies. There is a high level of transience in these areas, with people moving frequently.

Dublin is an incredibly important part of the Irish market but a very varied one in terms of consumers. Mosaic demonstrates the very different consumer types that live in the Dublin area. Whether you are planning marketing campaigns or where to open a new outlet it is important to understand the population detail to make sure you invest for the greatest chance of success. Mosaic helps you to do that.

We will continue with our series, and next we will look a the Generational Gap and how Mosaic Ireland 2018 may be used to help you understand the different consumer types and what that means for your organisation.


What does this mean for organisations?

We can see from these patterns that Ireland continues to be a highly segmented country and especially so in Dublin. Even short distances can make a large difference to a range of key characteristics – their age, levels of affluence or poverty and even their life expectancy.

Clearly a full understanding of these patterns brings opportunities for commercial organisations to positively change their activity, including outlet location, the types of products and services that best suit an area and the best individuals, households and areas to market to.

Similarly, public policy can also take advantage of these same social and geographic patterns to target even more constrained levels of public expenditure at those areas in most need.

Media coverage of phenomena such as the emergence of the super-rich living an international elite lifestyle, the ageing population and the growth of multi-generational households are all well documented. However only through Mosaic Ireland can we see exactly where these individuals are. Equally it has not been possible to identify with any degree of confidence the types of products and services that should be targeted at these shifting segments.

Through the Irish Mosaic organisations can now identify with certainty the new consumer, household and location types within the Irish population and enable relevant communications with them.


More Information

If you would like to learn more about consumer segmentation and how it can help your business’s marketing plan, please contact your Experian Account Manager.