Aussies compromising values, brand loyalty amid cost of living pressures: M&C Saatchi

M&C Saatchi Group Cost of Living Report

There has also been a “massive dip” in buying homegrown brands.

Australians are making compromises to their values and brand loyalties to survive the soaring cost of living, according to a new report from M&C Saatchi Group.

Mediaweek attended the launch of the ‘Cost of Living Crisis and what Australians Want From Brands’ report, presented by Melinda Lofts, the agency’s head of CX, and research director Olivia Nadile.

The third iteration of the report revealed that 71% of Australians across all age groups are less loyal to the brands they usually use to survive, with the 50-59 age group leading at 80% affirming this behaviour change.

In contrast, Lofts revealed that while 25 to 29-year-olds were feeling the impact of the cost of living more, 62% of them were more loyal to brands than older generations.

She told attendees that although four out of five Australians believe in the importance of buying Australian-made, there has been a “massive dip” in buying homegrown brands.

49% of Australians are purchasing fewer Australian products or brands now. We’re seeing the baby boomers stay loyal to Australian brands, but we can definitely say around the 39s are buying a lot of Australian brands,” she said.

This finding was slightly skewed towards respondents aged between 25-39 and females (51% compared to 45% for males).

Lofts noted that sustainability values are also being compromised as a result of the cost of living crisis, largely by Gen Z.

She said: “58% of Australians are buying less sustainable products as a result of the cost of living. What really surprised us is Gen Z, known for their activism and their focus on sustainability, this is the first time they’ve really dealt with the financial crisis.

“They’re the ones that often on the low incomes as well, so they actually being forced to make sacrifices in order to survive.”

M&C Saatchi Group’s report also highlighted the continued rise of the intentional shopper and explored the seven key spending trends impacting changing shopping behaviour.
85% of customers are more likely to be open to trying new brands or products, whether that be new retailers or buying cheaper substitute brands.
The M&C Saatchi report also found that 81% of Australians are taking advantage of loyalty programs to receive discounts and savings. Meanwhile, 89% are squeezing products to the last drop as Lofts noted the connection in the rise of “hacks” on TikTok maximising product usage and value, particularly in premium products.

80% of consumers are also spending more time researching products and seeking discounts. Lofts also noted that there is “less spontaneity” when shopping, with 80% of Australians going into supermarkets with a shopping list and sticking to it.

Connected to that is 68% of Australians spending extra time and visiting multiple shops to complete their shop in order make a good saving.

The report also noted that 47% are purchasing more online to save money, which Lofts said talks to the how Australians are being more considered with how they’re purchasing.

Elsewhere, the report also uncovered an increase in negative emotion, which signifies a substantial shift in the collective mood of the nation.

It noted continued concern for younger generations, where feelings of worry, anxiety, and fear are more prevalent than in more mature age groups.

Gen Z and millennials reported higher percentages of the feelings of being ‘depressed’ or ‘distressed’, which indicate younger generations are now facing more stress in relation to their financial state of affairs.

In a positive shift, however, there are steps all brands should consider taking, according to the agency, in order to help customers through the cost of living crisis:

More tangible value for customers
Prioritise your loyal customers
Help provide customers with tools to aid planning their shops
Invest in customer service
Prioritise brand reputation and building

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