Bastion Research Report Finds The Pandemic Has Made Aussies Worry More

Bastion Research Report Finds The Pandemic Has Made Aussies Worry More
B&T Magazine
Edited by B&T Magazine

The 22nd Bastion Collective report tracking sentiment during the pandemic has revealed most Australians are pessimistic about life returning to normal anytime soon.

The report also found more concerned about the economy than their personal circumstances or community health, and more worried about getting travel refunds or stuck in quarantine than catching COVID.  

The national Adapting to the New Normal Wave 22 report shows concerns returning to 2020 levels for the first time.   

Dianne Gardiner, founder and executive director, Bastion Insights said: “Sixteen months into the pandemic Australians are struggling to find a rhythm in a new normal of snap lockdowns.

“For the first time in over 12 months, our report shows most people across all states feel COVID is still significantly impacting their lives. 

“The challenge for marketers in a drawn-out pandemic becomes understanding how their audiences and customers are feeling, changing and reacting to a raft of concerns and worries over an extended period in order to engage with them sensitively, appropriately and effectively.”  

Fretting For The Future:

Interestingly, Australians are more concerned about the economy (60 per cent) than they are about their own circumstance and family (45 per cent) or the health of others and the community (55 per cent).  

Peter Harris, Co-CEO Bastion Insights, said: “Australians are increasingly worried about our future. Perhaps most concerningly, eight in 10 Australians believe COVID will be significantly impacting our lives to 2023 or beyond.

“More than one in three Australians believe COVID will still be significantly impacting our lives to 2025 or beyond, while 14% believe we will never live free from the significant impact of COVID again,” 

 Females (85 per cent) are more pessimistic than males (75 per cent), while Australians aged under 30 are more positive than their older counterparts. 

 Wellbeing Worsens:

Mental health and wellbeing indicators of psychological distress have significantly increased since the last wave report in March 2021. 

 Almost three in 10 (28 per cent) said they felt anxious most or all of the time in the previous week, 26 per cent felt everything was an effort most or all of the time and 22 per cent felt nervous most or all of the time.   

 Alarmingly, 17 per cent felt hopeless and 13 per cent so depressed nothing could cheer them up.

Job Security:

When it comes to money, one in five Australians (20 per cent) are extremely or fairly worried about their financial situation. Three in four Australians (74 per cent) report some degree of worry, with just 27 per cent not worried at all.

Despite their financial concerns, two in three Australians are confident about their employment over the next 12 months. 

 Living Local The New Normal:

Even before extended lockdowns in NSW and Victoria introduced limits of movement, there was no doubt people were spending more time closer to their homes across the week than pre-COVID. 

 Pre extended lockdowns, one in two Australians (50 per cent) were spending 80 per cent or more of their time during the week within 5km of their home, compared to 45 per cent in March. On weekends, 44 per cent were staying close to home, compared to 37 per cent in March. 

 Importantly for local business, that’s where Australians are opening their wallets too, with more than one in three Australians (36 per cent) spending 80 per cent or more of their discretionary income within 5km of their home, up from 20 per cent before COVID. 

 When we’re not shopping local, we are spending more time and money online shopping, with more women (61 per cent) than men (51 per cent), and younger demographics, especially 18-39s, getting the digital tills ringing. 

Ali Dexter, Co-Ceo Bastion Insights, said: “The challenge for brands online is their ability to offer choice and convenience whilst authentically tapping into the local community.”

 Short Breaks Dominant Travel Plans:

Unsurprisingly, lockdowns are increasing concerns around planning and booking travel. 

Surprisingly, Australians are far more concerned about getting stuck because of snap lockdowns (83 per cent), having to quarantine (81 per cent) or getting a refund for a cancelled holiday (78 per cent) than they are about the risk of getting COVID (44 per cent). 

That has made short interstate holidays the most popular option for those intending to travel in the next 12 months, followed by a longer intrastate break. Those intending to travel interstate plan to take a long holiday when they are allowed. 

 When restrictions allow, we’re heading to the regions more often. One in three Australians has spent more time in regional areas of their state in the past six months, with younger Australians leading the charge (46 per cent of those aged 18-29).  

NSW (43 per cent) and South Australian (39 per cent) residents have spent more time regionally than those in other states. 

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