NAB Quarterly Australian Consumer Anxiety Index – Q3 2015

Australian’s are feeling less anxious underpinned by lower stress associated with retirement funding, cost of living, job security and health. And for the first time, NAB’s Consumer Anxiety report sheds light on spending behaviours across states.

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Australian consumers are feeling less anxious.

The NAB Consumer Anxiety index fell to 62.5 points in Q3’15 (63.5 points in Q2’15) underpinned by lower stress associated with retirement funding, cost of living, job security and health. On government policy, however, consumer anxiety increased (driven solely by much higher concerns in Queensland) following a more positive reading in our last survey taken just after the May Federal budget. While concerns around the cost of living fell, it is still the biggest cause of consumers stress. According to NAB Chief Economist Alan Oster, “while spending behaviours are still dominated by essentials, fewer consumers are cutting back on non-essentials such as home improvements and travel”.

For the first time, NAB’s Consumer Anxiety report sheds light on spending behaviours across states:

  • NSW/ACT: Spending behaviours have shifted in favour of travel, home improvements and major household items.
  • VIC: Spending behaviours have shifted most towards utilities, eating out and children.
  • QLD: Consumer spending behaviours rose across the board (especially utilities).
  • WA: A big shift away from spending on children.
  • SA/NT: Cuts across the board, especially savings, super and investments, home improvements, travel and use of credit.
  • TAS: Volatile, with a big shift towards travel, charity and personal goods.

“Consumers also reported lower anxiety across all key expenditure items that impact their household financial positions, including their key concerns around retirement funding, providing for their families and healthcare”, said Mr Oster. Among some of the other key Survey findings:

  • Queensland was the only state where consumer anxiety increased and it is now the most anxious state in the country.
  • Overall consumer anxiety was highest for “Other” workers (i.e. self employed) and labourers, but increased most for young men (18-29) and Queenslanders.
  • Anxiety fell most in Tasmania (now the least anxious state), with notable falls in anxiety also reported by sales/clerical workers, high school leavers and part time workers.

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: