An increasing number of pessimistic Australians — almost one in three now — think the economy is in poor shape.
Several measures of sentiment now show consumers are tending to keep their money for key bills rather than shop for clothes or household goods.
The latest, the CHOICE national Consumer Pulse Report for the first week of December, 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%.
“This no doubt reflects the gloomy economic news of recent weeks, with the release of weaker than expected growth figures,” says CEO Alan Kirkland says.
The electricity bill is at the top of the list of household concerns at 79%, followed 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.
Another worry is the prospect of government spending cuts, at 66% (up slightly from 64%).
And 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%.
The survey was designed and analysed by CHOICE with fieldwork by GMI/Lightspeed Research with 1,037 consumers aged 18 to 75 between December 2 and 8.
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