While the experience of COVID-19 has been unique to the individual, many Australians have struggled with losing their job, working reduced hours or working from home. As such, COVID-19 has posed a significant financial challenge for many Australians. According to our third phase of research exploring the impacts of COVID-19, despite the challenges presented this year, two in five Australians (41%) have managed to save more money than usual in 2020. Almost one in three Australians (32%) have saved the same amount and 27% have spent more money than usual in 2020.
Closed borders have not curbed Australians desire for travel
It is good news for the travel and tourism industry that Australians who have saved more than usual during 2020 are planning to spend their extra savings on travel. The most popular immediate destination will be interstate (21%), followed by international travel when the borders reopen (19%) and to regional Australia (18%).
One in five Australians are taking the practical approach with their savings by either paying off debt (20%) or contributing to their retirement savings (17%). Property is still part of the Australian dream with 15% planning to buy a property to live in, while 10% are looking to buy an investment property. More than one in five Australians (22%), however, are not planning to spend their savings but are looking to keep them.
Changing spending behaviour in the wake of COVID-19
While we are yet to see what the long-term financial implications of COVID-19 will be, we are already observing a change in Australians’ attitudes and behaviours towards finances. Seven in ten Australians (70%) agree that 2020 has been a tough year financially, so will be looking for ways they can save on their Christmas gifts.
Not only are Australians looking to save, but the way they purchase is changing. Three in five Australians will do the majority of their Christmas shopping online this year to avoid the crowds (58%) and a similar proportion (60%) expect to do more of their shopping online even after COVID-19 restrictions ease and things go back to normal.
Younger Australians embracing online shopping
Younger Australians are more likely than older Australians to say they will do the majority of their Christmas shopping online this year to avoid the crowds (76% Gen Z, 78% Gen Y cf. 61% Gen X, 34% Baby Boomers, 24% Builders). The integration of digital purchases into Australians’ lives is also expected to continue with almost four in five Gen Zs (78%) and Gen Ys (79%) expecting to do more of their shopping online even after COVID-19 restrictions ease and things go back to normal (cf. 64% Gen X, 37% Baby Boomers, 30% Builders).