I recently read an article in the Australian by leading demographer Bernard Salt that made me think.
He posed an interesting question.
He said, “imagine taking an Australian couple from the 1950s and placing them in our society today. What would surprise them most?”
Would it be the internet or mobile phones or our general level of prosperity?
Maybe it would be something seemingly unremarkable (to us) such as the ubiquitous use of plastic.
Or maybe it would be the idea of wearing outer garments with slogans, brand names and images paraded for all the world to see.
Perhaps it would be our accent – it would sound less Australian, or the pronunciation of some words which would have more of an American twang to them, or even some of the words we use. Terms such as 24/7 became popular after the turn of the century, which brought with it the alphanumeric concept of Y2K.
Bernard Salt suggested that if this ’50s couple were to wander around the CBD of any big city, he was sure they would be struck by the ethnic mix of the people, the cafes, the independence of women, and the absence of formal dress, with hatless men and gloveless ladies everywhere.
I’m sure he’s right.
This got me thinking about what will change in how we live moving forward after the coronavirus pandemic.
How is your lifestyle going to change? While this is an interesting academic question it is also an important question to ask ourselves as property investors, business people, or entrepreneurs.
As we move through 2021, we’re still getting regular reminders that even though life is more normal, the effects of Coronavirus will be with us for a long time.
While some people are still looking back in the rear vision mirror to see what lessons we can learn to give us some guidance for the year ahead, let’s look forward into the future as I chat with leading demographer Simon Kuestenmacher
Simon is Director of Research at The Demographics Group, a columnist with The Australian, and a regular guest on this who is globally recognized as a rising star in the field of data management and insight and a regular guest here on my podcast.
All trends point towards Australians looking inwards, focusing on family matters, embellishing the family home.
Retail shifted online during the lockdowns but even after Australia opened up again online retail remained higher than expected before the pandemic.
The changes in retail sales by industry sub-group also show how Australians are investing in their family homes.
Major events don’t just change the way we view the world but also change the way we want our homes to look.
When Italians and Greeks moved to Australia, we transitioned from building English homes to building Mediterranean homes that allow us to combine indoor and outdoor living.
After the millennial drought, we added water tanks to our homes.
During the pandemic, we added veggie patches, additional storage (for food and toilet paper?), zoom rooms to the house, and changed the way we use our garages.
Even after droughts, pandemics, and Mediterranean migrant waves are gone the changes introduced to our homes are still there.
The current changes suggest larger homes will be in more demand.
Customer behaviour also is linked to customer income.
The story here is simple. The richer you are the less intensely the pandemic hit you.
Tenant selection should be on an investor’s mind.
This data further suggests that lower-skilled workers will struggle to afford homeownership and will therefore be renters.
Links and Resources:
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Simon Kuestenmacher – Director of Research at The Demographics Group
Some of our favourite quotes from the show:
“Even dress code seems to have changed. People are less formal post-COVID.” – Michael Yardney
“Sometimes we only look at what it costs to do something, and then when it seems too hard, we just don’t do it.” – Michael Yardney
“You’re never going to become rich if your money doesn’t work for you while you’re asleep.” – Michael Yardney
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