A year on from our first national COVID-19 lockdown, resilient Australians are more positive about the future. Kantar Australia’s latest consumer sentiment survey finds overall pandemic concern dropped to 47 per cent compared to 64 per cent last August as two in five say they were not impacted at all.
Yet for almost another two in five people surveyed, the pandemic was a trigger to completely reassess their lives. Ongoing, just 33 per cent still feel COVID-19 still impacts their daily life, down from 52 per cent in August; yet, despite stockpiling tendencies waning, two in five still purchase more long-shelf-life foods.
Financial planning has dropped in priority as Aussies open their pandemic purses to shop locally
Despite 35 per cent of people planning to become more proactive about their finances as the pandemic took hold last March, a year on, just 19 per cent are now focused on their longer-term financial security. Aussie households now feel less of a financial pinch and despite the impending end of government stimulus, one-third (36 per cent) are more certain that COVID-19 won’t impact their household income (up from 26 per cent in August) with 41 per cent increasing their ecommerce usage and nearly four in five (77 per cent) now preferring shopping at supermarkets close to home. Positive sentiment also extends to the broader economy, as half (49 per cent) believe it won’t take long to recover or impact jobs long-term (up from 31 per cent in August).
People still seek value from brands as safety prevails and they further explore their COVID-social world
Aussies continue to zoom online and soak up multiple media platforms with average claimed usage increasing by 30 per cent led by TV on-demand (47 per cent) and online (40 per cent). Almost one in four are spending more time on more apps – especially YouTube, Zoom, Messenger and Instagram as spending returns in most categories except dining out. To that end, almost three in 10 are ordering more via food app deliveries. Half of those surveyed are more focused on sales and 64 per cent on price than pre-pandemic, while 45 per cent still continue to look for brands to provide help via discounts and promotions and two in five will continue to buy the different brands they tried in 2021. Ultimately, 55 per cent of Aussies want brands to offer safe, hygienic products and services.
Aussies seek provenance, localism and sustainability leadership from brands as they purchase with purpose
Rattled by bushfires, the pandemic and now the flood crisis; brands that lead through provenance, localism and sustainability will resonate with increasingly patriotic Australians committed to homegrown recovery and community.
- Three in five now pay more attention to product origin
- 54 per cent still think it is important that brands have plans in place to protect supply chains
- One-quarter want brands to communicate how they’re meeting pandemic needs
- One-third want brands to proactively advertise how they’re helping the community
- One-third want brands to offer products/services that help adapt to the ‘new normal’
- two in five want brands to offer them more sustainable/durable products
- 37 per cent want brands to tackle plastic pollution in packaging and products
Kantar Australia’s recent sustainability study concurs, finding 16 per cent of Aussies (unprompted) cite concerns around sustainability as a reason to be ‘put off’ products or services, while half (48 per cent) believe that buying sustainable products shows others who they are and what they believe in. For brands, global Kantar research shows that the spending power of those most engaged with sustainable issues in FMCG alone is US$382 billion.
Being a strong brand is essential to navigate ongoing disruption, connect with Australians and stimulate growth
Almost nine in 10 Australians want brands to adapt to changing market and consumer needs (just 14% want brands to carry on as they did before COVID), and they also don’t want brands to stop advertising (87%). “While we’re largely more optimistic now, it’s important to continue to have active conversations with Australian consumers, says Kantar Australia’s Chief Commercial Officer Jonathan Sinton.
“Be authentic, bold and brave. Definitely no ‘sadvertsing’,” adds Sinton. “However, as we know that the bushfire crisis and pandemic escalated already existing consumer tensions, the current flood catastrophe will only serve to accelerate concerns. Brands need to stay across changing consumer attitudes. Those that build and market a relevant, differentiated offer underpinned by real purpose are more likely to be resilient during this and future disruptions.”
“Our study also finds that one in two Australians will pay more attention to brands that act responsibly, transparently and honestly towards their community and employees; and will focus on those brands that act in a responsible, transparent and honest way. BrandZ data consistently shows that strong brands are more resistant to and recover more quickly from disruption with those with a strong brand purpose growing brand value at around 2.5 times faster rate than those with a weak brand purpose. This means that it’s more important than ever to have a conversation with your consumers and understand what they’re feeling and needing in this rapidly changing world.”
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