NAB Quarterly Australian Consumer Anxiety Index – Q4 2014

The Index fell for the second straight quarter, with lower levels of concern reported across all categories. According to NAB Chief Economist Alan Oster, the cost of living and government policy continue to be the single biggest causes of anxiety for Australians.

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Consumer anxiety falls to its lowest level since mid-2013.

The NAB Consumer Anxiety Index fell for the second straight quarter to 60.1 points in Q4 (62.3 in Q3), with lower levels of concern reported across all categories.

According to NAB Chief Economist Alan Oster, “the cost of living and government policy continue to be the single biggest causes of anxiety for Australians – and by some margin. Job security is causing the least stress, despite rising unemployment and a marked slowing in the domestic economy.”

Among some of the key findings from the Q4 survey:

  • TAS & NSW/ACT replaced SA/NT as the most anxious states, with QLD now the least anxious state.
  • Those earning less than $35,000 are the most anxious group across all demographics, with consumer anxiety lowest for widows.
  • Women aged 50+ are the most anxious consumers by gender and age
  • Labourers replaced “other” workers (e.g. those self employed) as the most anxious group by employment type.
  • Consumer anxiety increased among full time workers, but remains highest for part timers.

Australian households were again also asked 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 are still spending more of the household budget on “essentials”, but there were also signs that they loosened their spending on some “non essentials”, said Mr Oster.

“Specifically, changes in spending behaviour continue to be dominated by “essentials” such as utilities, paying off debt, transport and medical services.”

Mr Oster also said “with the holiday season approaching, Australian consumers appear to have also shifted some of their spending preferences towards “non essentials”, particularly home improvements, travel and entertainment”.

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: