NAB Consumer Sentiment Survey Q1 2021

Insights into consumer stress, attitudes, spending patterns and behaviours.


As COVID-19 vaccination rates pick up around the world, many analysts are understandably asking what are the implications for consumer attitudes, behaviours and the path back to the “next normal”?

While debate continues whether herd immunity is achievable even with high vaccination rates, as more consumers receive the vaccine the perceived safety of many activities (particularly those relating to leisure and travel) will rise, especially in countries hardest hit by the virus such as the US, Brazil, India, France, and the UK. Any increase in movement & travel intentions would be particularly welcomed by restaurants, hoteliers, airlines and many other consumer and hospitality-focused businesses. In the US, where around one-third of the population has received at least one dose of the vaccine, airport and store traffic is picking up. Israel currently leads the world in terms of roll-out with around 50% of the population fully vaccinated with the two doses required for “protection”. Even without herd immunity, the vaccine is expected to reduce hospitalisations and deaths from COVID-19 which will influence behaviour. But, what about Australia?

With the number of active cases remaining low and growing confidence in the ability of the healthcare system to cope, Australians’ concern over the virus has now eased to its lowest level since the pandemic began, despite low rates of vaccination. Domestic and more recently NZ travel, is picking up solidly, while foot traffic is growing in our major cities. That said, new NAB research suggests that consumer spending patterns in Australia will likely change with a broad deployment of a vaccine and not just for travel. At the same time however, with NAB’s Consumer Stress Index rising again (after falling for four consecutive quarters), some attitudes and behaviours that emerged during the height of the pandemic as consumers adopted a more “cautious” mindset and embraced online, are likely to continue.

Get all the insights in the NAB Consumer Sentiment Survey Q1 2021