More than half of all Australians feel they have been personally affected the global downturn, despite the nation’s strong economy.
Some 58 per cent of respondents said they believed they had been personally affected by the global financial crisis, which was nine percentage points more than last year, a survey by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) found.
BCG consumer practice leader in Australia and New Zealand James Goth said domestic consumers were behaving as if the economy was in crisis, despite its strong performance and the low unemployment rate.
‘We might be half a world away from the European financial crisis and the high unemployment levels of the Northern Hemisphere but Australian consumers are just as battered and cautious as those in the US, the UK and many other developed countries,’ he said.
The percentage of Australian correspondents saying there felt affected by the world downturn compared favourably to the 74 per cent in the US and 69 per cent in the United Kingdom, but was much higher than the 44 per cent in China.
Consumer confidence in eurozone nations varied widely with 78 per cent in Spain, 73 per cent in Italy and 69 per cent in France, reporting they were personally affected.
However, this dropped to 35 per cent in Germany.
Mr Goth said concerns of local consumers were much higher than a year ago when Australia was included in BCG’s global survey for the first time.
The survey found that 50 per cent of Australians intended to spend less on discretionary items, compared to 47 per cent last year.
This was more than US consumers (46 per cent) and the same as European Union consumers (50 per cent).
Surprisingly, a similar percentage of Australians (22 per cent) felt insecure about their current job in the current year as Americans (23 per cent), French (22 per cent) and Germans (25 per cent).
The highest levels of concern over job stability were in Japan (34 per cent), Italy (33 per cent), Spain (32 per cent) and the United Kingdom (29 per cent).
Australians had one of the highest levels of consumers who felt they were in financial trouble at 47 per cent, up from 36 per cent a year ago.
This was the same level as the US despite a much stronger economy here.
Only the Italians (51 per cent) and Japanese (51 per cent) felt less financially secure than Australians.
More than 1,400 Australians were surveyed for the research.
The BCG’s eleventh annual Consumer Sentiment Survey was conducted in April with 15,000 consumers in 16 countries.