NAB Quarterly Australian Consumer Behaviour Survey: Q4 2015

The NAB Quarterly Australian Behaviour Survey (formerly NAB Consumer Anxiety Report) shows consumer anxiety falling again (and to its lowest level since Q4 2014), amid more signs of improvement in the labour market and non-mining segments of the economy.

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Consumer anxiety falls further, but spending behaviour still restrained

Consumer Anxiety fell to its lowest level since Q4 2014 amid more signs of improvement in the labour market and non-mining sector of the economy.

The NAB Consumer Anxiety Index fell to 61.1 points in Q4 2015 (62.5 points in Q3 2015) and is below its long-term average (61.9 points).

Lower anxiety was led by diminished concerns relating to job security, with around two-thirds of all Australian consumers rating “very low” or “low” anxiety over their job security in Q4 2015.

Cost of living is still the biggest contributor to overall consumer anxiety, but less so than in Q3.

According to NAB Chief Economist Alan Oster, “it is still of some concern that almost 1 in 3 consumers rate their anxiety levels from cost of living pressures as high”.

Anxiety related to government policy was also notably lower, but it continues to be the second biggest contributor to overall anxiety after cost of living.

Lower anxiety has yet to translate into significantly stronger spending behaviours, with paying down debt still the main priority for consumers.

Financing retirement, providing for the family’s future and health expenses continue to weigh on the minds of consumers.

As a result, spending behaviours remain dominated by key essentials such as transport, utilities and health.

While spending on non-essentials was broadly unchanged during the quarter, it was notably stronger than at the same time last year.

“This bodes well for a stronger Christmas trading period”, said Mr Oster.

About the Index

The NAB Quarterly Australian Behaviour Survey (formerly NAB Consumer Anxiety Report) 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:

Consumer Anxiety Report Q4 2015 (PDF, 113KB)