April 26, 2018

NAB Quarterly Consumer Behaviour Survey Q1 2018

Insights into the mindset of Australian consumers – anxieties around future spending and savings plans, household finances, the economy, financial concerns & how these are impacting spending behaviours and levels of financial hardship.

NAB’s Australian Consumer Anxiety Index fell sharply in Q1 2018 across all measures. Anxiety from job security fell most, consistent with solid jobs growth. Consumers are most anxious in NSW/ACT, where anxiety is highest for the cost of living, retirement and health funding. Anxiety fell most in WA.

Despite much lower anxiety, consumers were more reluctant to spend – more Australians cut back on eating out, charitable donations, personal goods and use of credit. While utilities remain the area where most consumers are spending more, there has been some relief, with far fewer citing this category in Q1 2018 compared with Q4 2017.

Australians were also noticeably less concerned about their household finances. By age, it fell most (and was lowest) for over 50s and by some margin. By contrast, the level of concern among younger people (18-29) rose, driven by heightened worries among young women.

Looking beyond financial concern to actual hardship, around 37% of Australians experienced some form of financial stress in the past 3 months (39% in Q4 2017). Hardship fell across all age groups except 18-29 year olds and men. Being unable to pay a bill remains the most frequently cited cause of stress – for 1 in 5 (20%) Australians overall, but for almost 1 in 3 young women and low income earning Australians. Not having enough for food and basic necessities is the next biggest cause – affecting 17% in total, but almost 1 in 3 low income earners.


For more information, please refer to the attached report: