NAB Quarterly Australian Consumer Anxiety Index – Q2 2015

Consumer anxiety rose despite falling concerns over government policy post the federal budget. More consumers are paying off debt and spending more on “essentials” however, fewer consumers cut back their spending on “non-essentials”.

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Consumer anxiety rose despite falling concerns over government policy post the federal budget. Cost of living pressures were the main cause of stress for Australian consumers, but worries over job security increased the most. More consumers are paying off debt and spending more on “essentials”. Somewhat encouragingly, however, fewer consumers cut back their spending on “non-essentials”.

The NAB Consumer Anxiety Index rose to 63.5 points in Q2’15 (61.8 points in Q1’15), with anxiety up in all categories except government policy.

According to NAB Chief Economist Alan Oster: “On government policy, Australian consumers seem to have responded positively to the May federal budget, with the number of consumers rating their anxiety over government policy “high” falling to just over 29%, from more than 34% in the last survey.” This was a significant fall as the survey was conducted in 2 waves, with the first wave carried out in the week preceding the budget and the second wave during the week after the budget.

“Cost of living pressures are now causing the greatest stress for Australian consumers, but anxiety has increased most in relation to job security where stress levels are at their highest since early-2013” said Mr Oster.

Among some of the other key Survey findings:

  • Overall anxiety increased most in Tasmania, which also replaced Victoria as the most anxious state.
  • There was a large increase in anxiety among divorced people, part time and professional workers.
  • Divorced people overtook low income earners (under $35,000) for having the highest levels of overall anxiety.
  • Anxiety was notably lower for young men (18-29), with this group now also reporting the lowest levels of overall anxiety (replacing widows).
  • Stress levels for labourers and consumers living in Queensland were also notably lower.

Overall, consumer spending patterns are indicative of a still wary consumer. More consumers are electing to pay off debt and are spending more on “essentials” like health, transport, utilities and groceries, while retirement funding and providing for the family’s future continue to cause the most anxiety with regards to households’ financial positions.

“Somewhat encouragingly, however, fewer consumers cut back their spending on non-essentials such as travel, eating out, personal goods and major household items during the June quarter, which is consistent with a further slowing in the savings ratio” said Mr Oster.

Further detail on consumer anxiety by key demographics is available on request.

About the Index

The NAB Quarterly Australian Consumer Anxiety Index was launched in April 2013 with the aim of assessing perceptions of consumer stress and wellbeing.

The NAB Consumer Anxiety Index provides a subjective assessment of over 2,100 Australian’s own concerns about their future spending/savings plans arising from job security, health, retirement, cost of living and government policy. The index provides detailed results by: geography; age; income; employment status; occupation; sex; and marital status.

For further analysis download the full report: