CONSUMER PULSE

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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.

Methodology

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 nine.com.au (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 17 - commencing 12th July 2020

Headline Sentiments

“Haven't returned to normal yet - waiting til it's safer”

“I’m saving money because I can't spend it”

“Happier to spend more time at home and in my neighbourhood” 

Hot Topics; COVID & life beyond

Tougher measures

Tougher measures

69% of SMH readers think Sydney needs a tougher regime of coronavirus restrictions to help curb the spread of the virus

Suppression policy

Suppression policy

60% of Financial Review readers favour pursuing a policy of COVID suppression over eradication in States and Territories outside of NSW and Victoria

Masks on

Masks on

89% of 9Nation audiences would wear a mask in public spaces at least sometimes if their state government made this a requirement on their COVID-19   restriction plan

The long haul

The long haul

71% of The Age readers do not anticipate that in 12 months from now the pandemic will be over and life will be back to normal

Holy grail

Holy grail

76% of The Age readers think that if the AFL Grand Final can’t be held in Melbourne this year it should be played interstate

Spend to save

Spend to save

66% of SMH readers think Treasurer Josh Frydenberg should spend whatever it takes to ensure Australia bounces back from coronavirus as soon as possible

Concern rising with new outbreaks

As new outbreaks occur and restrictions return concern levels are rising. ​The top 3 concerns for Nine audiences continue to be about the broader impact on society and communities (59%)​, broader impact on the economy (57%)​ and concerns about how others are behaving (54%).

Concern tracker: % of those feeling ‘extremely / very concerned’ is rising again 

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Mood tracker: further dips

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Confidence in government responses 

Despite the mood and rising concerns, the majority of audiences think their State and Territory governments are handling current developments well. This is particularly true of Financial Review readers (74%) and SMH/The Age readers (73%) as well as those outside Victoria and NSW (97% in WA, 86% in ACT, 85% in Qld, 85% in SA, 71% in NSW and 64% in Victoria).

Broad confidence in State & Territory governments’ handling of developments 

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Comfort in public settings: divided opinion 

Across audiences, feelings differ about being in public settings – broadly there are 33% who feel comfortable, 40% who feel uncomfortable and 13% who say ‘it depends on the setting’. A comparison of sentiments across groups highlights that the experience is not a universal one and audiences are responding in different ways:
* Women feel less comfortable than men (women 24% comfortable, 50% uncomfortable; men 32% comfortable, 38% uncomfortable)
* Younger people feel most comfortable and are less likely to say ‘it depends on the setting’ (40% of 18-34s feel comfortable vs 28% of 35-54s and 27% of 55+)
* Those in Victoria and NSW are least likely to feel comfortable (20% in Victoria, 28% in NSW, 39% in Qld, 40% in ACT, 47% in WA and 50% in SA feel comfortable)
* Financial Review readers feel the most comfortable (44% comfortable, 32% uncomfortable), SMH / The Age readers feel the least comfortable (24% comfortable, 46% uncomfortable) and 9Nation audiences fall in the middle (32% comfortable, 41% uncomfortable)

Comfort in public settings: sentiments over time 

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Staying home, staying local 

Whether by choice or necessity, audiences continue to exercise caution about out-of-home activities, with the majority either preferring to stay at home or close to home, or being selective about the venues or transport options they use. Some 1 in 6 are starting to return to their usual habits for out-of-home activities – though again this varies by audience group (17% of 9Nation audiences, 13% of SMH readers, 2% of The Age readers, 20% of Financial Review readers had returned to more of their previous habits at the time of the survey).

There are some differences in attitude across groups:  
Age: Younger audiences are most likely to be returning to their usual out-of-home activities (32% of 18-34s, 13% of 35-54s, 9% of 55+) and feeling invigorated being around more people (11% of 18-34s, 5% of 35-54s and 4% of 55+). Older audiences are more likely to prefer staying local or close to home (37% of 18-34s, 45% of 35-54s and 54% of 55+) and be highly selective about the venues they visit, choosing based on health / hygiene measures, how crowded venues are, or how well they adhere to social distancing practices (26% of 18-34s, 39% of 35-54s and 45% of 55+)

Gender: Women are slightly more likely to prefer staying local or close to home (52% women vs 49% of men), but men and women are equally likely to be highly selective about the venues they visit (43%)

These sentiments reflect the heightened importance of home-based entertainment, local businesses, and the continuing importance for businesses of maintaining consistent practices in in health, hygiene and social distancing to retain customer confidence.

Attitudes to movement across audience groups 

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Contentment at home

In open-ended comments there is also a sense of growing content with a home-centric lifestyle:
“I’m less busy and I find I really like that”
“Less travel for work. More time with my kids” 
“There’s less pressure to do things.  Take your time.” 
 “I feel that I am more interested in my own surroundings and using my time to get a lot done around my home and family time has been really good” 
“Not having to commute every day gives me 2 hours each day” 

Major purchase considerations this week are again dominated by home-related purchases. While domestic travel remains in the top 5 categories, consideration has slipped slightly in the last fortnight.

Across audience groups, Financial Review readers are most likely to be considering any major purchase (88%) and are considering the widest range of categories, followed by SMH / The Age readers (75%) and 9Nation audiences (63%).

Major purchase considerations: home-based 

Financial Review readers: top major purchase considerations 

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SMH / The Age readers: top major purchase considerations

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9Nation audiences: top major purchase considerations

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