How did the global pandemic affect our financial positions?
The latest research from Toluna’s Global Consumer Barometer surveyed 1,060 respondents in Australia between 4th-8th January 2022, and discovered some interesting results.
At the core, women and young people are shown to be the most affected groups in Australia.
- The key findings show that Australians have become increasingly concerned about their finances as a result of the recent Omicron outbreak.
- Over the Christmas period, almost half (47%) of Australians were concerned about being able to afford the cost of Christmas, with many having been able to save as much as previous years.
- This year, spending confidence is down, with respondents planning to reduce discretionary spending in 2022 due to the ongoing financial insecurity brought about by the pandemic.
Financial insecurity affecting more women and young people
Almost half (48%) of Australians are concerned about their financial security because of the COVID-19 pandemic, with over a third (37%) stating they’re now financially worse off than they were before the pandemic began.
Women, however, have taken a bigger hit than men, with 39% of women financially worse off as a result of the pandemic, compared to only 35% of men.
Further, 22% of men said they’re in fact financially better off now than they were before the pandemic, while only 14% of women are now financially better off.
Young people have also been financially impacted due to the pandemic, with almost half (48%) of those between 18-24 stating they’re now financially worse off than they were before the pandemic; closely followed by 43% of those between 45-54.
Only 20% of those over 75s and 31% of those between 65-74 had been negatively impacted financially.
Only a third of respondents (34%) said they feel secure in their employment – with only 28% of women feeling secure in their jobs, compared to 40% of men.
Spending confidence down
Due to the ongoing financial burdens brought about by the pandemic, Australians are planning to cut down on discretionary expenses in 2022, while upping spending on insurance, cleaning products, and healthcare.
Compared to 2021:
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- 36% of Australians expect to spend less money on holidays in 2022 (with 22% planning to spend more)
- Similarly, 36% of respondents expect to spend less eating out this year (although 22% plan to spend more)
- 26% of Australians expect to spend less on car purchases
- 23% expect to invest less
- 26% expect to spend less on books and magazines
- 27% expect to spend less on entertainment and subscriptions
- 28% expect to spend less on casual clothing, with 25% expecting to spend less on work clothing
Conversely, Australians expect to spend more on some items in 2022:
- 20% expect to spend more on car insurance
- 19% expect to spend more on home insurance
- 19% expect to spend more on household cleaning products
- And 24% expect to spend more on healthcare
A frugal Christmas period
COVID-19 not only put a dampener on Australians’ Christmas plans last year but also affected the way we spent money.
Almost half (47%) of respondents said they were concerned about being able to afford the cost of the Christmas break, with the financial stress weighing more heavily on women (51%) than men (44%).
For 42% of Australians, they either were not able to save as much as previous years (17%) or didn’t save for Christmas at all (25%).
As a result, 42% used credit options while shopping for Christmas, so they were able to delay the payment and spread the cost over time.
Across the board, respondents stated they spent less money at Christmas time:
- 36% spent less on pre-holiday festivities and socialising
- 22% spent less on pre-Christmas and Black Friday sales
- 29% spent less money on gifts
Almost half (48%) of respondents said they tried to save on spending over the Christmas period due to the current economic uncertainty.
“After two years, the pandemic is continuing to have an impact on the way Australians spend money. The ongoing economic uncertainty, coupled with the rise of the worst outbreak Australians have ever experienced, had a dramatic impact on consumer spending and confidence over the Christmas period, with many Australians entering 2022 with an abundance of caution,” said Sej Patel, Country Director, Toluna, Australia & New Zealand.
“We know from previous research that consumers are now more inclined to shop with brands whose values align with their own, with many proactively seeking out brands who are socially and environmentally conscious. Now, with frugality top of mind for shoppers, brands that can clearly communicate their values, while also demonstrating value for money, will have a clear advantage over their competitors.”