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Cost-of-living pressures: how Australians are adapting to price hikes

As cost-of-living pressures persist across the economy, Australian households are having to re-evaluate where, and how, they spend their money.

“As we emerge from the pandemic, the rising cost of living is now one of the biggest issues for Australians,” said Sej Patel, Country Director, Toluna, Australia & New Zealand. 

“Our research shows that Aussies are noticing price increases across a number of categories and are changing their behaviours as a way of trying to combat this. Brand switching and shopping around to find better deals are some of the key tactics shoppers are using to save money, with price being the absolute number one factor when it comes to making grocery purchasing decisions right now.”

According to Toluna’s Global Consumer Barometer Study, one in four shoppers are switching supermarkets to find a cheaper alternative and 23 per cent are buying their groceries in bulk. Almost a quarter of shoppers are visiting supermarkets more often to get the best deals.

Rising prices, along with an increase in interest rates earlier this week, have also led to tightened purse strings in other areas. According to the survey, the first few items that Australians would forgo to save money are eating out, ordering takeaway, overseas travel, going to pubs and bars, and going to the cinema.

In an effort to drive down their power bills in coming months, Australians are also reviewing their energy consumption.

“Price changes are also impacting consumers’ plans when it comes to eating out and socialising with friends, right down to being conscious about shower timings and making sure all lights are switched off,” Mr Patel noted.

A third of respondents said they plan to take shorter showers to reduce water shortage as well as use the eco/cold settings on their washing machines and dishwaters. Almost 20 per cent plan to program their laundry during low tariff hours.

According to Mr Patel, understanding these changes in behaviour is “critical” for businesses, especially after consumer confidence has dropped to some of the lowest figures this year as per the weekly ANZ-Roy Morgan index.

“Understanding today’s consumer is critical, and businesses will do well to ensure that communication with customers over the coming months largely focuses on price and value for money,” Mr Patel said. “It’s important that businesses evolve the way they position and market themselves in a way that aligns with current consumer sentiment.” 

READ ALSO: Let’s Talk: How businesses can cope with inflation in the face of uncertainty

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Rhea Laxmi Nath

Rhea Laxmi Nath

Rhea L Nath is a Sydney-based writer and editor. In 2022, she was named Young Journalist of the Year at the NSW Premier's Multicultural Communications Awards.

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