We are living in uncertain times, but one thing is certain; the better we understand audiences, the better we can serve their needs and wants as marketers. In response to the COVID-19 crisis, Nine has launched a weekly consumer sentiment poll to understand how we can help brands connect with our audiences in 2020.

Nine. Where Australia Connects.


Consumer Pulse is undertaken via short online surveys (conducted weekly) and deeper dive surveys (conducted monthly) with Nine’s audiences - across linear television, 9Now and digital properties (and network sites), plus readers of news mastheads The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and The Australian Financial Review (print + digital).

Capturing the mood

Week 15 - commencing 29th June 2020

Headline Sentiments

“I’m concerned about the Victorian experience and impact on the rest of the country”

“I’m ensuring that I make good choices about social distancing wherever I am”

“I'm just concentrating on the necessities at the moment”

Topical insights

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 01: Staff are seen at a pop-up COVID-19 test site in Broadmeadows on July 01, 2020 in Melbourne, Australia. Victorian premier Daniel Andrews on Tuesday announced lockdowns for residents of Melbourne suburbs identified as COVID-19 hotspots following a spike in new coronavirus cases through community transmission. From midnight Wednesday 1 July, residents of 10 postcodes will only be able to leave home have for exercise or work, to buy essential items including food or to access childcare and healthcare. The restrictions will remain in place until at least 29 July. (Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images)

Second wave

94% of 9Nation audiences think it is likely that Australia will experience a “second wave” of coronavirus.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 27: Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews speaks to the media on April 27, 2020 in Melbourne, Australia. Victoria's COVID-19 death toll rose to 17 following the death of a man in his 90s over the weekend, with just 67 active coronavirus cases in Victoria and 1265 people having recovered. Tough restrictions on movement and gatherings implemented to reduce the spread of COVID-19 remain in place despite a steady decline in the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Australia. All non-essential businesses remain closed or are restricted in operation, while public gatherings are limited to two people and social distancing measures require people to keep a safe 1.5m distance from one another.  New South Wales and Victoria have enacted additional lockdown measures permitting police to fine people who breach the two-person outdoor gathering limit or leave their homes without a reasonable excuse. Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory have all closed their borders to non-essential travellers and international arrivals into Australia are being sent to mandatory quarantine in hotels for 14 days. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

Harsher penalties

74% of The Age readers support bigger penalties for people who ignore health warnings and fail to social distance.

Coronavirus COVID-19. General scenes at Sydney Domestic Airport during travel restrictions. Generic Qantas, Jetstar, Regional Express, REX, T2, T3. Thursday 21st May 2020 AFR photo LOUIE DOUVIS

Domestic closures

64% of SMH readers think NSW should close its border with Victoria if that state’s COVID-19 cases continue to increase.

A drop in mood and concern returns 

This week levels of concern are again rising, and there has been a considerable drop in mood. Audiences are feeling less safe and relieved, and more stressed, hesitant and unsure. A comparison across age groups shows that those aged 35-54 are feeling the least positive, with net positive emotions approaching levels at the height of the crisis.

Concern tracker: rising levels for a second consecutive week

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Mood tracker: a steep downturn

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Net positive emotions by age group: 35-54s feeling least positive

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Comfort zones: attitudes to venturing out

As restrictions have continued to ease in some parts of the country, we explored attitudes and behaviours toward movements and being in public settings. Audiences are broadly preferring to stay within ‘comfort zones’:

  • Around 6 in 10 are choosing to stay in-home, close to home or in their local area
  • Around 1 in 2 are choosing less crowded places, or venues clearly adhering to social distancing practices
  • Around 1 in 4 are choosing private transport options over public
  • Around 1 in 5 are feeling challenged by the ambiguity, conflicting practices or new etiquette in public settings
  • Only 1 in 10 are feeling invigorated being around other people

Differences between audience groups

However there are differences between audience groups, with Financial Review readers being the most comfortable being out in public settings, SMH / The Age readers the least comfortable, and 9Nation audiences falling in between.

Feeling comfortable in public settings: differences in audience groups

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Financial Review readers are the keenest to get out of home. They are most likely to be excited about the prospect of more places opening up (40%), travelling to workplaces (35%) and frustrated by closures and limited by continuing restrictions (21%).

SMH / The Age readers are highly selective about their activities. They are most likely to be choosing less crowded places or venues clearly adhering to social distancing practices (58%), choosing outdoor activities over indoor ones (25%), feeling challenged by ambiguity, conflicting practices or etiquette in different settings (24%) and avoiding going out for health / hygiene reasons (19%)

9Nation audiences are most content staying home (44%). They are least likely to be travelling to their workplace, or any venue, or choosing any transport options.

Attitudes to movement: preferences and comfort zones

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Economic activity and attitudes to spend

With an increasingly uncertain outlook, many have retreated from previous rising confidence of recent weeks and are showing caution. The graph below shows agreement with the statement ‘I am being very careful about how I spend my money at the moment due to the economic situation and my finances’.

Spend confidence

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Major purchase consideration

The proportion of audiences considering a major purchase of any kind has remained fairly high - at 93% of Financial Review readers, 82% of SMH / The Age readers and 77% of 9Nation audiences.

This week saw a slight shift away from out-of-home categories and back toward in-home categories – consideration for domestic travel has slipped, whereas categories such as appliances, furniture, mobile technology, pets, wine and hobby purchases have increased or remained steady.

For Financial Review readers, consideration increased for property investments and decreased for other investments and insurance products.

Major purchase consideration: any category

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Top categories considered: Financial Review readers

Top categories considered: SMH / The Age readers

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Top categories considered: 9Nation audiences

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