Black Friday Sales in Australia

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Black Friday is the retail super-day popular in the US and in 2017 it is November 24. It is the day following the Thanksgiving public holiday and in some states it is an additional holiday. 

All of this has combined to make it the unofficial start to the Christmas shopping season, and the biggest single shopping day of the year. 

It has grown significantly over the last decade and last year, more than 100 million Americans went shopping on this one day, ringing up sales exceeding US$50 billion. For many stores, Black Friday and the shopping season launches a revenue boon that pushes revenues into the black, thus the eponymous name.

Without the Thanksgiving marker, or any public holidays, Black Friday is currently not a big event in Australia. In fact this national research we have just conducted shows that less than 1 in 20 Australians (4.7%) are expecting sales, and more than 1 in 4 (27%) have never even heard of it.

40% of Australians say Black Friday doesn’t really happen in Australia and another 39% don’t know.

Most Australians (54%) don’t know whether Black Friday is online only or also in stores.


Cyber Monday, the Monday after Black Friday, popular for online shopping super sales, has even lower awareness in Australia. Considering we are in a global marketplace, used to adopting retail trends from the US, the current low awareness of these sale super-days in Australia may be a surprise. However, the mass engagement with Black Friday and Cyber Monday in the US is really only a decade old, and so the years ahead will see a higher profile for these sale days in Australia.

Australians are up for a bargain, whatever the day is called, with 1 in 3 Australians (34%) agreeing that they will definitely be looking out for stores offering discounts. Even without the tradition of these sales, or the associated public holidays, late November presents an ideal opportunity for local retailers to kick start their Christmas sales, and so we can expect to hear more about Black Friday in coming years.

Download the summary report here.

Mark McCrindle in the media

SBS "Will Amazon join Australia's Black Friday party?"

Courier Mail "Black Friday 2017 sales: Australia missing out on best shopping deals because of ignorance"


Gen Z Career Aspirations & the Future of Work

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

What do Gen Z aspire to be when they grow up? Social researcher Eliane Miles was recently asked to unpack the latest findings from the Australian Institute on Family Studies on ABC The Drum.

Gender-based career preferences

The research identified there are significant gender differences among Gen Zs aged 14 and 15 when they think about their possible futures. Boys gravitate most towards engineering (14% of those who stated an occupation), information technology (10%), construction (9%), automotive (8%), or sports (6%), while the top five occupations chosen by girls were medical professionals (13%), education professionals (11%), legal (11%), personal services (7%), and performance arts (7%). Just three occupations (health, design, and performance arts) overlapped among both genders when looking at the top ten list.

Girls need more inspiration to move towards STEM

While are naturally career preferences that appeal to each gender (with Eliane’s commentary highlighting that this is strongly linked to parental influence, as shown in our work with the Career Industry Council of Australia), there are challenges that may emerge for women in future-proofing their careers.

We know that Australia’s workforce is at the cusp of significant change. In 2030, the majority of the jobs that we will do (85%, according to Dell Technologies) are not yet invented. Yet 75% of the fastest growing careers require STEM skills – qualifications and skills in science, technology, engineering and maths. As we look across Australia’s educational landscape, just 16% of STEM graduates in our nation are female, highlighting the continuing need to lift the profile of STEM careers for female school-leavers among parents, educators, and media personalities.

Fantasies or a new work order?

There were a disproportionate number of ‘fantasy-type’ occupations listed in the AIFS study, things like ICT (‘games developer’, ‘YouTuber’, and ‘blogger’), sports (professional AFL player), and performing arts (actor, ballet dancer). And, not surprisingly, 41% of young people aged 14 and 15 didn’t have a clue as to what they want to do when they are older.

This uncertainty of the future is to be expected, and not only among Gen Z. In an era of multiple careers, lifelong learning, the gig-economy, in which digital disruption is bringing whole sectors to an end, and new jobs are emerging each year (nanotechnology, virtual reality engineers, user-experience managers, data designers etc.), what will the future of work look like?

Our average length of job tenure is now less than three years, and three in ten workers now work casually or contractually (up from one in ten three decades ago). Today’s school leaver will have multiple jobs (17) across many (5+) careers, and part of their reality on the job is that they will constantly be learning. We all will be. By 2030, workers will be spending at least 30% more time on the job learning.

As the workforce shifts (with 32% of our workforce comprised of Gen Z in a decade’s time), so will our mindsets in regards to careers and the future of work. Yes, Gen Zs will bring idealism and self-assuredness, but they will also bring a new wave of entrepreneurialism that might just be what we need to face disruption and manage change. They, and we all, will need to increase our level of critical thinking, problem solving, and digital skills as we move towards this new reality.

About Eliane Miles

Eliane Miles is a social researcher, business strategist and Director of Research at the internationally recognised McCrindle. From the key demographic transformations such as population growth and the ageing workforce to social trends such as changing household structures and emerging lifestyle expectations, from generational change to the impact of technology, Eliane delivers research based presentations dealing with the big global and national trends. 


If you would like to have Eliane Miles speak at your next event, please feel free to get in touch. 

Download Eliane's full speakers pack here and view her show reel video below.


Getting to Work: The Great Australian Commute

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

The latest census data, released last month, highlights how much commuting will be transformed for Australians in the years ahead. 

Two in three Australians who work, put in at least 35 hours per week (62%) and half of all couple families are two-income earning households (47.4%). Australians also spend longer in the education system, with one in three adults having attained a tertiary qualification, and more than one in five (22%) have a university degree.

However, most of the commuting to work and university relies on driving. Of the nine million daily commuters in Australia, 7 in 10 workers commute by private car (68.4%), which is half a million more than in 2011. Just 1 in 8 (12%) get to work by public transport, and 1 in 20 (4.7%) work from home.

Given the increase in car usage over the last half decade, it is unsurprising to see therefore that most Australian households have at least two cars (54.3%) which is higher than in 2011 (52.6%).

However, nationally the combined public transport infrastructure investment currently under construction is the biggest in Australia’s history and will clearly provide a massive uplift in commuting options in our capital cities. In addition to this, the decade ahead will bring autonomous vehicles, driverless shuttle busses, and electric share bike and scooter options which will help us journey “the last mile” from public transport hubs to our final destination.

The coming decade of transformed transport will facilitate behaviour change and provide our cities with a faster, cheaper, and less car-reliant future.

The Growth of Sydney: Preparing for a city of 9 million

Friday, November 10, 2017

Sydney is Australia’s largest city with a population of more than 5.1 million. One in five Australians live in Sydney, and two-thirds of the population of NSW, our largest state, lives in this one city. 

Sydney’s population is growing through record annual births, life expectancy increases and through arrivals coming to the emerald city from other parts of Australia. Sydney remains the preeminent gateway to Australia and it is this overseas migration that is the biggest source of the city’s growth.

Sydney is Australia’s most culturally diverse capital with over two in five residents (43%) born overseas. Most Sydney siders (61%) have at least one parent born overseas and two in five (38%) speak a language other than English at home.

According the Australian Bureau of Statistics Census data, Sydney is comprised of people from over 220 countries and significant sub-regions, with over 240 different languages spoken and residents identifying with almost 300 different ancestries.

Based on the current growth trends, Sydney will reach 9 million by 2051. While there is much infrastructure under construction to respond to the current growth, the near doubling of the population in less than four decades will require much more.

So how can Sydney cope with this growth, and what will the future of Sydney be like? Watch Mark McCrindle comment on this story on 7 News




About Mark McCrindle

Mark McCrindle is an award-winning social researcher, best-selling author, TedX speaker and influential thought leader, and is regularly commissioned to deliver strategy and advice to the boards and executive committees of some of Australia’s leading organisations. Download Mark's full speakers pack here.

Generation Next: Meet Gen Z and the Alphas

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Australia is in the midst of a massive generational transition. 

Today’s grandparents are part of the Baby Boomers, born from the late 1940’s to the early 1960’s. This generation is followed by Generation X, born from 1965 to 1979 who, at the oldest edge, are moving through their mid-life.

Today’s new parents and those entering their peak fertility years are part of Generation Y, born from 1980 to 1994.

Today’s children and teens are Generation Z, born from 1995 to 2009 and Australia is home to more than 4.5 million of them.

From 2010 Australia has seen the start of a new generation and having worked our way through the alphabet, we call this new generation, the first to be fully born in the 21st Century, Generation Alpha.

Gen Alpha have been born into an era of record birth numbers, and there are around 2.6 million of them nationally. When this generation is complete, in 2024, Generation Alpha births will total almost 5 million over the 15 years from 2010, compared to 4 million births of the Baby Boomers for the 19 years from 1946.

Generation of 'upagers'

The oldest Gen Alphas commence Year 3 next year and will be the most formally educated generation ever, the most technology supplied generation ever, and globally the wealthiest generation ever.

They are a generation of “upagers” in many ways; physical maturity is on setting earlier so adolescence for them will begin earlier and so does the social, psychological, educational, and commercial sophistication which can have negative as well as positive consequences.

Interestingly for them while adolescence will begin earlier, it will extend later. The adult life stage, once measured by marriage, children, mortgage and career is being pushed back.

This generation will be students longer, start their earning years later and so stay at home longer. The role of today’s parents therefore will span a longer age range and based on current trends, more than half of the Alphas will likely be living with their parents into their late 20’s.

'The great Screenage'

Generation Alpha have been born into “the great screenage” and while we are all impacted by our times, technology has bigger impacts on the generation experiencing the changes during their formative years.

The year they began being born was the year the iPad was launched, Instagram was created and App was the word of the year. For this reason, we also call them Generation Glass because the glass that they interact on now and will wear on their wrist, as glasses on their face, that will be on the Head Up Display of their driverless cars, or that will be the interactive surface of their school desk, will transform how they work, shop, learn, connect and play.

Not since Gutenberg transformed the utility of paper with his printing press in the 15th Century has a medium been so transformed for learning and communication purposes as glass- and it has happened in the lifetime of Generation Alpha.



About Research Visualisation

In a world of big data, we’re for visual data. We believe in the democratisation of information, and that research should be accessible to everyone, not just to the stats junkies. 

We’re passionate about turning tables into visuals, data into videos and reports into presentations. As researchers, we understand the methods, but we’re also designers and we know what will communicate, and how to best engage. 

Whether you’re looking to conduct research from scratch, or if you have existing data that you want to bring to life – get in touch with the McCrindle team.


Newcastle and the Lower Hunter Economy is on the Rise

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

The Business Performance Sentiment Index (Business PSI), designed by McCrindle, is an ongoing measure of business conditions, performance and sentiment. The Lower Hunter PSI is an initiative of Maxim Accounting with support from NAB.

The Business PSI takes the pulse of business across a region and tracks changes in the health of the local and national economy over time. This edition of the Business PSI (2017) features the latest results for the Lower Hunter region. This report also features longitudinal comparisons to last year’s deployment of the Business PSI (2016).

The Business PSI measures three core business characteristics: business conditions, performance and sentiment. The PSI uniquely charts these measures on a scale that ranges from accelerating on the extreme positive to collapsing on the extreme negative. Each of the three core measures (conditions, performance, and sentiment) are comprised of three sub-measures which are derived from the results of several individual survey questions.

The Lower Hunter region continues to show strong, consistent growth and an optimistic outlook.

One in three households (34%) own their home outright (compared to 32% in NSW and 31% nationally) and the region reports a rise in household income of 45% from 2006 to 2016, compared to Australia which has seen a rise of 39%.

Impressively, this year’s PSI results show that the positive operating condition for businesses in the Lower Hunter have further increased since last year.

This year’s results highlight a continued struggle for businesses against red tape and regulation as well as an expressed concern for local infrastructure provision. These challenges are offset, however, with the expectation of business expansion in 2018 and this positive sentiment in the Lower Hunter economy is the dominant theme in this year’s Business PSI report.

Download the full Lower Hunter PSI report here. 

Download the full Lower Hunter PSI infographic here.

The Rise and Rise of Australia’s Population

Monday, October 30, 2017

Australia has increased its population by one third in the last 20 years, from 18.5 million in 1997 to 24.7 million people currently. But more remarkable is that this record population growth has exceeded all forecasts. 

In 1998, the Australian Bureau of Statistics predicted that, based on low-growth assumptions, Australia’s population would reach 23.5 million people in 2051, a benchmark it went on to achieve in July 2014. The mid-growth forecast of 24.9 million people by 2051 will be reached in the middle of next year, 33 years early! The upper end forecast of 26.4 million, based on high-growth assumptions, will be reached in mid-2021, less than four years away.

What has caused such population growth?

The current growth patterns of Australia will lead us to a population of 38 million by 2051, around 12 million higher than even the high-ball forecasts of the late 1990’s. It’s not that the calculations were wrong, it’s that migration policy changes as well as longevity increases and a solid birth rate have defied the trends that were evident twenty years ago.

Back then it was assumed that the total fertility rate (babies per woman in a lifetime) would remain low. However, today’s TFR of 1.81 is above even the highest assumption allowed for in the 1990’s of 1.75.

It was also thought that life expectancy at birth would hit a high of 82 for males and 86 for females by 2051. However, current life expectancy is already closing in on 81 for males and 85 for females and will reach these 2051 targets decades early.

Net Overseas Migration the biggest growth factor

The biggest growth factor that has blown out previous population modelling has been the rise and rise of Australia’s net overseas migration. In 1998 it was thought that it would grow our population annually by around 70,00, or at the most, 90,000. In the last 12 months, Australia has added 231,900 through net migration which is more than 2.5 times even the high-forecast of two decades ago.

Expected growth for our major cities

The expectations for our largest cities back in this era were also well below what has eventuated. This 1998 report expected Melbourne to reach a population of between 3.6 and 4.5 million by 2051. It is currently well above this range at 4.8 million. Sydney was predicted to reach between 4.7 and 6.2 million by the middle of this century. It is currently around 5.1 million and will reach the higher forecast within a decade, 23 years early.

Australia's population growth among the highest in the developed world

While the late 1990’s may not seem like that long ago- John Howard was Prime Minister and Bill Clinton was the US President, the last two decades have seen significant shifts in our demographic trends. Back then, slowing population growth was responded to with policy changes like the baby bonus and efforts to increase overseas migration. Australia’s population growth is now one of the highest in the developed world. 

We have added 390,000 people to our population in the last 12 months, which is like adding three cities the size of Darwin to our population each year. Sydney is now home to more people than the whole country of New Zealand. Speaking of which, New Zealand, back in 1998 was expected to reach 4.7 million in 2050- its population currently exceeds 4.8 million. Melbourne is growing even faster and rather than having 1.7 million fewer people than Sydney in 2051 as was predicted, it will likely overtake Sydney to be Australia’s largest city by this year.

Lessons to be learnt

The lesson for policy makers, urban planners and governments alike, is to keep a close eye on the population forecasts and plan early for the growth that is being experienced so that our cities are not left short of infrastructure. While population growth can’t realistically be stopped, it must be better planned for and managed to ensure the Australian lifestyle continues. And when in doubt, assume the higher growth forecasts not the lower ones. I’m yet to see an Australian population forecast that needs adjusting down.

Mark McCrindle, Demographer and Social Researcher

Latest Census data: How Australians learn, work & commute

Monday, October 23, 2017

Today the Australian Bureau of Statistics has released their second round of data gathered in the 2016 Census. This data reveals a fascinating snapshot of how we work and are educated, with the number of Australians with a university degree up 6% in a decade, a higher proportion of Australians driving to work, and more of us working in part-time employment.

A more educated Australia

More than one in two Australians have undertaken further study since leaving school. The latest results show that 56% of Australians over the age of 15 (9.6 million people) currently hold a post-school qualification.

We are also more likely to have participated in higher education with close to one in four adult Australians now holding a Bachelor Degree or above (24%), up 6% from a decade ago. The rise in postgraduate learning has been even more marked, with an additional 300,000 Australians holding a postgraduate degree since 2011, an increase of 46%. Residents of Australia’s capital cities are almost twice as likely as those in regional areas to have a university qualification (30% compared to 16%). Australians with vocational qualifications (certificates III & IV) have seen increases (13%) at around half the rate of university degrees (23%)

The three most common qualifications, by field of study, are Management and Commerce, Engineering and Society and Culture. The popularity of Society and Culture (which includes areas such as politics, law and economics) has risen by 29% since 2011.

The highest growth has been in the traditional areas of study: Accounting (+64,189), General Nursing (+64,022) and Business management (+61,462). Aged care is growing too, now ranked as the fourth highest growth category increasing from 60,702 in 2011 to 97,024 today.

The gender gap

Over the last 50 years, women have massively increased their labour force participation while men have decreased theirs. In 1966 83% of men were employed compared to 34% of women. The latest Census results show that 65% of men are currently employed compared to 56% of women. Labour force participation for women peaks in the post-child rearing years among women aged between 45-49, with 76% employed in this age group. For men, participation peaks in the mid to late 30’s as does hours worked, averaging 42 hours per week until the late 50’s.

Women have been closing the post-school qualification gap with 54% of women compared to 58% of men holding a qualification. In 2006, 51% of males held a post-school education compared to 42% of women – a gap of 9%. Ten years later, this gap has narrowed to just 4%.

While women have increased their paid work participation and hours, men have not closed the gap in unpaid domestic work. Employed men were almost twice as likely to do less than 5 hours of unpaid domestic work per week (60%) as women (36%) and working women were more than three times as likely to be doing at least 15 hours of domestic work per week as men (27% compared to 8%).

One in five working males are tradies

More than one in five (22%) working males are tradesman or technicians with the three most popular male-dominated occupations being electricians, carpenters/joiners and truck drivers. For women, the top occupations are registered nurses, general clerks and receptionists.

The Census also revealed that the most popular occupation for both men and women is a general sales assistant although retail trade and wholesale trade are two of just three sectors that employ fewer workers today than in 2011. The biggest fall in employment by industry is manufacturing, which has seen the loss of 219,141 workers in 5 years.

Part-time employment and the gig economy

Over the past five years the Australian labour force population has grown by over 800,000 people, rising from 10,658,465 in 2011 to 11,471,298 in 2016. The gig economy is on the rise, with the number of Australians employed part-time having risen by 14% since 2011. The number of full-time workers, by comparison, has only risen by 4%. Today, one in three working Australians are employed part-time (up 3% since 2011). 25 years ago, just one in ten workers were employed part-time.

Australian’s working hard but trying to get a balance

Australians are most likely to work between 35-40 hours per week, with two in five (40%) working these hours. The Census revealed that some Australians may be developing a better work-life balance, with the percentage of Australians working more than 40 hours a week dropping from 29% in 2011, to 26% in 2016. Over the same period, the proportion of workers employed less than 25 hours per week increased slightly from 22% to 23%.

Getting to work

The proportion of workers driving to work has increased by 0.5% since 2011. Nearly seven in ten Australians (69%) drive themselves to work while an additional 5% ride along as passengers. Today an additional 466,885 are commuting by car compared to five year ago.

The goal of ‘walkable cities’ and ‘active transport’ needs further focus as the percentage of people walking to work declining from 4.2% in 2011 to 3.9% currently, and those using a bicycle to get to work also declined slightly from 1.2% to 1.1%.

Adelaide residents are the most likely to travel to work by car, with four in five (80%) travelling to work by car. Meanwhile, Hobart takes the prize for the most accessible city with 8% of workers walking their commute. Sydney, Australia’s most populous city, leads travel by public transport with nearly double the proportion of commuters travelling by train, bus, tram or ferry than any other capital city (Sydney 21%, Melbourne 13%, Brisbane 11%, Adelaide 8%, Perth 8%, Hobart 5%, Darwin 7% and Canberra 7%).

Media Commentary

For media commentary please contact Kimberley Linco on 02 8824 3422 or kim@mccrindle.com.au

The Fastest Growing Suburb in NSW

Wednesday, October 18, 2017


Willowdale in Sydney’s south-west is a suburb that has emerged from rural acreages in just a few years. It sits in the Cobbitty-Leppington area which is the fastest growing region in NSW, Australia’s largest state.

In 10 years, the population of Cobbitty-Leppington has tripled, from 6,000 to around 18,000 currently. Yet it sits in the south-west growth corridor which comprises three of the 10 largest growth areas in NSW. These large growth areas include Elderslie-Harrington park, Mount Annan-Currant Hill and Cobbitty-Leppington, and together they have grown by almost 30,000 people in the last decade.

One of the reasons for the population growth of these areas is the more affordable new housing on offer.

The median house price in this new suburb is around $650,000 compared to the Sydney median house price of almost $1.3 million.

“The Aussie Dream is still alive in Sydney. People can afford not only a house with a back yard in a new community, but one at half the median Sydney house price” - Mark McCrindle



About Mark McCrindle

Mark McCrindle is an award-winning social researcher, best-selling author, TedX speaker and influential thought leader, and is regularly commissioned to deliver strategy and advice to the boards and executive committees of some of Australia’s leading organisations. Download Mark's full speakers pack here.

Food Insecurity in Australia

Monday, October 16, 2017

It was a pleasure teaming up with Foodbank Australia, to conduct new research into the hidden problem of food insecurity in Australia.

What is food insecurity?

Food insecurity can be defined as “a situation that exists when people lack secure access to sufficient amounts of safe and nutritious food for normal growth and development and an active and healthy life” - Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations.

Despite our reputation as the “lucky country”, the issue of hunger exists in Australia but is largely unnoticed

The reality is that 3.6 million Australians (15%) have experienced food insecurity at least once in the last 12 months. Three in five of these individuals experience food insecurity at least once a month.

Food insecurity impacts a wide range of groups in the community, and is not restricted to the unemployed or homeless. In fact, almost half of food insecure Australians (48%) are employed in some way, whether full-time, part-time or casually.

Our youngest members of the community are also impacted, as dependent children live in 40% of food insecure households.

The study shows how easy it is for someone to fall into food insecurity, given the rising cost of living

Financial pressures can create difficult choices, such as choosing between heating and eating. Two in five food insecure Australians (41%) have not paid bills in order to have enough money to buy food.

The experience of food insecurity is incredibly challenging and can cause a significant decline in quality of life for individuals and families. Skipping meals in these instances is quite common, and 28% of food insecure Australians report going for an entire day without eating in times where they have run out of food.

Download the full report here

Download the full infographic here

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