NAB Quarterly Australian Consumer Anxiety Index – Q2 2014

Consumer anxiety spikes post the Federal Government’s budget, with low income earners clearly most concerned. The NAB Consumer Anxiety Index rose to 64.5 points in Q2 (61.7 points in Q1) – its highest level since the survey began in Q1’13.

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Consumer anxiety spikes post the Federal Government’s budget, with low income earners clearly most concerned.

The NAB Consumer Anxiety Index rose to 64.5 points in Q2 (61.7 points in Q1) – its highest level since the survey began in Q1’13 – with elevated anxiety mostly driven by growing concern over government policy (with the survey conducted after the May Federal budget) and cost of living (which remains the single biggest concern for Australian consumers). Consumer anxiety related to ability to fund retirement, health and job security also increased. Anxiety is highest in Victoria, but rose most in WA where the economy continues to feel the strain of the mining boom transition. Women are still more anxious than men, but the gap is closing. Among the other key findings: anxiety is notably higher for low income earners (<$35K), divorced people and women (18-29) and lowest in Tasmania, for widows and high income earners (>$100K). Our special report (“Budget Impacts”) shows that Australian consumers expect the biggest impacts of May’s Federal budget over the next 12 months to be felt on their overall financial position, spending on non-discretionary services, access to government benefits and general level of savings, while spending on education and childcare and hours worked will be least affected.

Special Report – Budget Impacts.

  • Australian consumers react negatively to the Federal Government’s budget announced in May, with the NAB Consumer Anxiety Index climbing almost 3 points to a high of 64.5 points in Q2 2014.
  • In this special survey – conducted over the four weeks immediately following the May 13 Federal Budget – we asked Australian consumers to identify where the biggest budget impacts would be felt over the next 12 months.
  • Overall, the biggest budget impacts are expected to be felt on consumers’ overall financial position, spending on non-discretionary services (e.g. food, rent, mortgages, health and utilities), access to government benefits, general level of savings/investments and discretionary services (e.g. eating out, entertainment and travel).
  • Conversely, spending on education (despite the Government’s intention to move towards a more ‘user-pays’ model), childcare and hours worked are expected to be least affected.
  • There is a very strong relationship between lower incomes and negative budget impacts.
  • Low income groups expect a much bigger budget impact on their access to government benefits, non-discretionary services, level of savings/investments, spending on major household goods/vehicles and overall level of anxiety compared to high income earners.
  • Women expect the budget to have a bigger negative influence across all factors than men over the next 12 months. Families, low income earners and young people also expect to be more negatively impacted.
  • The budget impacts on those with children compared to those without is particularly apparent.
  • On average, the biggest budget impact is expected to be felt by women aged 18-29, followed by families with children and those earning less than $35K, while average budget impacts are expected to be least severe for widows and retirees.
  • Budget impacts considered to be greatest in SA/NT and smallest in TAS.
  • All states nominate their overall financial position as the key impact, with the exception of QLD, where the biggest impact is expected to be in non-discretionary services spending.
  • Younger people were most concerned about the impact on non-discretionary services, while older people (aged 30-49 and 50+) more concerned about their overall financial position over the next year

For further analysis download the full reports.