NAB Quarterly Australian Consumer Behaviour Survey Q2 2016

Consumer anxiety has now fallen for each quarter over the past year, as Australians respond to sustained improvements in the labour market and recovery in the non-mining economy.

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Consumer anxiety falls for fourth straight quarter

Consumer anxiety has now fallen for each quarter over the past year, as Australians respond to sustained improvements in the labour market and recovery in the non-mining economy.

The NAB Consumer Anxiety Index eased slightly to 60.2 points in Q2 2016, from 60.4 points in the previous quarter.

Lower overall consumer anxiety was driven by decreasing anxiety associated with the cost of living, government policy (post the 2016-17 Federal Budget) and health expenditure.

However, these diminishing concerns were partially offset by growing worries over job security and funding retirement. Despite contributing the least to overall consumer anxiety, job security has risen for the past two quarters and is currently the highest stress for males aged 18-29.

NAB Chief Economist Alan Oster said: “This is the fourth Survey in a row where overall consumer anxiety has trended downwards. Consumer anxiety is now at its lowest level since half-way through 2013, and well below its long-term average.

“While we continue to expect moderate growth in consumer spending throughout 2016, this is contingent upon further pick-up in labour market conditions and risks associated with further declines in the household savings rate.”

The NAB Consumer Behaviour Survey: Q2 2016 also found:

  • Financing retirement, providing for their family’s future and healthcare were identified by Australians as the biggest drivers of financial stress;
  • Consumers continue to focus spending on ‘essential’ items such as paying down debt, medical and utility bills, and groceries, above ‘non-essential’ items such as entertainment, travel and eating out;
  • On a state-by-state basis, despite a small improvement, consumer anxiety was highest in WA led by cost of living concerns. SA/NT showed the biggest easing in anxiety quarter-to-quarter.
  • Overall women reported much higher anxiety than men, with women aged 30-49 now the most stressed group overall. In contrast, men over 50 are among the least stressed.

The NAB Consumer Behaviour Survey: Q2 2016 was conducted across two weeks in May, following release of the 2016-17 Federal Budget.

For further information please refer to the attached report: