Photo by S O C I A L . C U T on Unsplash

Australians focus spending on local cafes, shops with travel plans off the cards

Photo by S O C I A L . C U T on Unsplash

Ticketed events and travel off the cards as Australians focus spending on local cafes, shops – new Toluna research reveals 

62% of Australians more fearful of 2nd wave of COVID-19 than economic downturn 

WHAT: The Toluna COVID-19 Barometer is a bi-weekly index that taps into a community panel of 30+ million members providing accurate and timely information on the world’s perceptions regarding the Coronavirus. The latest research surveyed 1,093 respondents in Australia between 30 July – 4 August 2020 . 


With Australia’s case numbers spiking, Australians are accepting the fact that travel and big events are going to be off the cards for some time. This is having an effect on spending, with many focused on going out to local cafes and shops instead.  

Spending with local businesses 

For cities out of lockdown, restaurants and cafés can take comfort in the fact that Australians list eating out as the top way they’ll be spending money over the next 1-2 months: 

  • Despite 40% of respondents citing they’ll be more careful about where they spend their money over the coming months, 45% are planning on eating out in the coming months 
    • This figure is even higher in states with low case numbers, 49% in SA, 60% in WA,51% in Tasmania 
  • With 30% of respondents not wanting to book travel and 27% hold out booking tickets to an event until after August 2021, there’s likely to be more discretionary budget available to spend on eating out  
  • Other local businesses consumers intend to go to over the next 1-2 months include: 
    • Hairdressers/salons – 30% 
    • Cinemas – 21% 
    • Gyms – 16% 

Grocery shopping 

  • Australians are still more likely to do their grocery shopping in store, with 65% having done their groceries in store over the past two weeks, while only 19% have shopped for groceries online 
  • Unsurprisingly, these figures change while looking state to state – in Victoria, only 60% shopped for groceries in store while 22% shopped online, while on the other end of the spectrum, a massive 78% of West Australians did their groceries in store, compared to 16% online over the past two weeks 
  • Stocking up for potential lockdowns could potentially be playing on people’s minds, with the below items being added to shoppers’ trolleys over the past two weeks: 
    • Long life or canned goods – 40% 
    • Frozen food – 53% 
    • Cleaning products – 50% 
    • Handwash or sanitiser – 40% 
    • Toilet rolls – 48% 
    • Pasta – 43% 
    • Vitamins – 30% 

Scarcity still an issue 

With supply chains still not back to normal in Australia, shoppers are still faced with some scarcity in the supermarket: 

  • 20% have had to shop around from store to store to find what they wanted 
  • While 19% have bought something online they’d normally find in store 
  • 20% have paid more items than they would have before the crisis 
  • 25% have had to go without something they’d normally buy 

Fears of a second wave continue to grow 

A massive 62% of Australians are now more fearful about a second wave of COVID-19 than the resulting economic downturn, compared with 32% who are more worried about the economy. 

This has gone up since our last barometer two weeks ago, when only 56% of Australians were more concerned about a 2nd wave vs 38% who were more worried about the economy. 

Back in June, only 49% of respondents were more worried about a 2nd wave than the economic downturn, compared to 42% who were more worried about the economy.  

Toluna Analysis 

“With the country in various stages of lockdown, Australians have adjusted to the reality that travel and big ticket events are going to be off the cards for some time. This has made consumers more cautious with their spending, but the good news for local cafes and retailers is that they are still spending, and eating out is high on the agenda. As the pandemic progresses, it’s important for businesses to monitor evolving consumer perceptions and habits and adjust their services accordingly.” Said Stephen Walker, Business Director, Toluna, Australia & New Zealand.  

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