Could the lockdown make Aussies more conscious spenders?

Olivia Gee

21 May 2020

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As restrictions are slowly being lifted around the country, Australians can begin taking stock of their crisis spending habits, and how these might evolve post-lockdown. 

According to management researcher McKinsey & Company, Aussies are now more concerned with the social impact of their purchases. 

Additionally, those who have curtailed their shopping budget plan to maintain cost-cutting measures into the future.

Overall, the McKinsey survey noted that, while still low, spending intent is starting to recover. 

Spending linked to renewed priorities  

Along with increased spending, calls for community support for local businesses may have also been heard.

The McKinsey survey found that 27% of respondents were more interested in the broader purpose and values of companies and brands. 

Participants were therefore less worried about price if a purchase fostered a sense of ‘community experience’. 

Mozo’s April research indicates a similar sentiment: 29% of Australians cite their reason for online shopping as ‘doing my bit to support local businesses’, which was the most common response. 

RELATED ARTICLE: COVID-19 and the recession: Saving in a post-pandemic world.

We’re spending less, but will it stick?

For the millions of Australians financially impacted by the crisis, cutting costs and adhering to a strict budget has been essential. 

McKinsey & Company recorded 42% of shoppers spending less on superficial items, and 34% becoming more attuned to price in general.

Fewer participants said they had made more active everyday cost-cutting measures, with only 8% switching to discount stores and 13% now choosing store brand items over premium labels. 

However, a significant portion of people in those groups – 89% and 73% respectively – plan to maintain these shopping habits.

Post-COVID-19 spending plans

This week, the Financial Planning Association of Australia (FPA) released a free guide to help Aussies manage their personal finances in the current economic climate and plan beyond the crisis. Chief executive of the FPA, Dante De Gori said any steps toward pre-lockdown spending behaviour would be incremental.

“The financial impact of COVID-19 is deeper than it currently appears. While Australia might be reopening for business soon, lost income and household debt means consumers are not going to rush into their pre-COVID spending right away,” he said.

“It’s important for all Australians to continue to plan their finances prudently, and tread cautiously before they feel 100% confident of the economic situation, as well as the state of their own personal finances.”

If you need more practical advice, follow these five steps to planning your crisis budget, or check out these top tips for saving money.

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