12 December 2014
CHOICE has released its latest national Consumer Pulse Report, revealing growing pessimism over the state of Australia’s economy.
The national consumer survey1 found that 32% of Australians rated the economy as poor, up from 25% in September. This was matched by a fall in those rating the economy as good, from 35% to 28%.
“Almost one-in-three respondents told us they thought the economy was either fairly or very poor, showing many Australians are concerned at the bigger economic picture as the year draws to a close,” says CHOICE CEO Alan Kirkland.
“This no doubt reflects the gloomy economic news of recent weeks, with the release of weaker than expected growth figures and discussion of an ‘income recession’,” Mr Kirkland says.
Overall, consumer cost-of-living issues remained fairly constant from September to December, with electricity staying top the list of household concerns at 79%, followed closely by food and groceries at 78%. In essential services, the biggest shift was around university fees, with concern jumping from 31% in September to 38%, a clear response to the political debate of the year’s final parliamentary session.
“The cost-of-living picture remains stark for many Australians heading into Christmas,” Mr Kirkland says.
“While concern over electricity has eased slightly, this was offset by an increase in concern over food and grocery costs. Anxiety over university fees is back to the levels it reached in June, following the Federal Budget, with 87% of students worried about these costs.”
Key results from the December CHOICE Consumer Pulse include:
- 32% of Australians rate the economy as fairly or very poor, up from 25% in September.
- 83% of Australians say their bills are increasing, down from 87%.
- Electricity remains the number-one household cost-of-living concern at 79% (easing from 82%), followed by food and groceries at 78% (up from 75%), and fuel at 71% (down from 75%).
- The biggest worry remains government spending cuts, at 66% (up slightly from 64%).
- Of those Australians who cut spending in the last 12 months, the biggest areas remained entertainment (71%) and clothing (67%), while cuts to holidays increased significantly from 58% to 66%.
1. The survey was designed and analysed by CHOICE with fieldwork by GMI/Lightspeed Research conducted with 1,037 consumers aged 18-75 years between 2 and 8 December 2014. Final data has been weighted to ensure it is representative of the Australian population based on the ABS Census 2011. Cost of living questions about people’s concerns with expenses is based on the total population including people who do not have a given expense. We have done this to represent the overall views of Australians.