NAB Quarterly Australian Consumer Anxiety Index – Q3 2014

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Consumer anxiety moderates after the post budget jump, but some concerns remain elevated.

The NAB Consumer Anxiety Index fell to 62.3 points in Q3 (64.5 points in Q2), led by a notable reduction in concern over the ability to fund retirement, cost of living and job security.

According to NAB Chief Economist Alan Oster, “the cost of living is still the biggest single cause of anxiety for Australians, but concerns over government policy and health costs remain elevated.”

Among some of the key findings from the Q3 survey:

  • SA/NT has replaced Victoria as the most anxious state
  • The gap in anxiety between women and men has widened, with women aged 30-49 among the most anxious across all demographics
  • Consumer anxiety was lowest for retirees across all demographics and highest for those employed in “other” professions.

In this survey, Australian households were also asked for the first time to assess the extent to which their spending changed based on their financial position over the past month, as well as which items of expenditure were causing the greatest degree of anxiety.

“Consumers have cut back on their discretionary spending as ‘essentials’ control more of their budget” said Mr Oster.

“Specifically, Australians increased their spending on utilities, paying off debt, transport and medical expenses. In contrast, they spent less on entertainment, eating out, major household items and charitable donations.”

Mr Oster also said “the ability to finance retirement is the biggest cause of consumer anxiety, along with providing for the family’s future, health costs and the ability to raise $2,000 in an emergency.”

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 2,000 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 reports.

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