NAB’s Consumer Sentiment Survey for the second quarter of 2021 has shown that current economic uncertainty has caused many Australians to become more cautious with their spending.
By and large, consumers report choosing less expensive options and doing their homework before making a purchase.
But this added mindfulness in spending may deliver a benefit to Australian businesses. According to NAB, though they’re spending less, consumers report more willingness to shell out if it means shopping local.
When asked how their behaviours had changed this quarter, 38 per cent said they were buying more Australian-made products, while 35 per cent said they were supporting more local businesses.
Supporting communities through consumer spending was on the rise before COVID hit, with a steady uptick following the drought and bushfires of 2019.
But with stress levels rising for the second straight quarter, whether shoppers will continue to pay more for local products is hard to predict.
Though consumers reported less anxiety over job security in Q2 over Q1, stress levels were up in relation to government policy, saving for retirement, health expenses, and the overall cost of living.
Low-income earners reported the greatest increase in concern over their finances. Broken down by state, Western Australians experienced the greatest surge in stress levels, while residents of NSW, the ACT and Victoria reported an increase as well.
Rising financial worries caused many to rethink anticipated purchases. Respondents expected to spend less on major household items, cars and investment properties in the near future.
But despite mounting anxiety, one area where fears seem to have been somewhat allayed is in a willingness to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
Almost eight in 10 Australians now intend to be vaccinated, or have already done so, and one in 10 reported being unsure. Last quarter, almost one in five said that uncertainty was holding them back from receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.