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Consumer confidence steady in South Australia

13 March 2014    


Consumer confidence in South Australia has remained steady over the past quarter, signalling overall confidence in the future tempered by a fear of rising living costs and election fatigue, according to independent research conducted by local market research firm Square Holes.

The Square Holes Quarterly Consumer Confidence Survey conducted in early March,  showed 76% of the 400 people interviewed believe their financial security will improve or remain the same over the next year - consistent with November, 2013 and marginally higher than in July, 2013.
While consumer confidence remains significantly higher than business confidence, rising living costs remain a major issue for South Australians.

Square Holes Managing Director Jason Dunstone said the March survey found continued fears of burdensome household bills and the cost of groceries to rise over the next twelve months.

“The financial security of the family home remains a priority, and even with an upbeat and optimistic outlook to the future, there is a high level of uncertainty,” said Mr Dunstone.

“Rising bills and a degree of election fatigue are leaving South Australians with a hunger for clearer plans moving forward.

“Consumer confidence is likely to improve once the State election is behind us, irrespective of which side of politics wins.

“Yet, it is important that future plans are made clear. There is some scepticism that the 2013 Federal election and upcoming South Australian elections are more empty promises than decisive leadership.

“Consumers are overall optimistic, yet are counting on government and business leaders to guide a positive future for South Australia, even with the challenging economy and cost of living pressures.

“There are opportunities for businesses able to provide services which alleviate some of the pressure and to make life easier.

“Helping ease financial burden or fears offer opportunity for savvy businesses, yet there is clear evidence from this survey and Square Holes’ other recent research that it is not just about ‘cheaper’ with consumers continuing to demand better ‘value,’ and being willing to pay more if they can see a benefit in an improved product, service or experience. Even in challenging and changing times there are opportunities for clever businesses.”

The Survey also contained some bad news for charities with a 3% increase in the number of people expecting to spend or donate less to charities over the next year.

The next Square Holes Quarterly Consumer Confidence Survey will be conducted in May, 2014 following the state election.

Some of the Square Holes Quarterly Consumer Confidence Survey (March 2014) findings included:

• 76% March (76% Nov) of people believe their financial security will improve or remain the same over the next year.  July result - 78%.

• 70% March (69% Nov) of people viewed their current financial security as the same or better than 12 months ago. July result - 70%.

• 24% March (24% Nov)  of people believe their financial security will be worse in 12 months. July result - 22%.

• 82% March (85% Nov) of people rated family in their home as the highest priority in terms of financial security. July result - 83%.

• 56% March (58% Nov) of people expect to spend more on household bills over the next year. July result - 54%.

• 39% March (43% Nov) of people expect to spend more on groceries over the next year. July result - 37%.

• 33% March (30% Nov) of people expect to spend less money donating to charity over the next year. July 28%

Square Holes surveyed 400 South Australians across the state. The research was conducted between March 12 and March15. Further research will be undertaken in May and August 2014.
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Issued by Hughes Public Relations: Tim Hughes on tim@hughespr.com.au