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SCAR Mood Monitor October 2014

Australians are the happiest they’ve been in 16 months and 25% more content and optimistic than they were in June 2014.

This report tracks the mood of Australians and discovers how Aussies are feeling right now, what influences their mood and what’s currently worrying them.

The three KEY INSIGHTS from this report are:

- After a fairly dampened mood in June 2014, it seems Australians are in the most positive mood they’ve been in in 16 months.
- The happiness of Australians seems to be derived from being grateful for what they have and being aware they are better off than others (both locally and worldwide).
- 1 in 4 people are worried about the availability and affordability of energy prices, while the threat of future terrorist attacks has increased on Australians’ minds.

For more information contact the scaresearchdepartment@sca.com.au

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SCAR Mood Monitor October 2014

  1. 1. After a fairly dampened mood in June 2014, it seems Australians are in the most positive mood they’ve been in in 16 months. Results from four Mood Monitors have shown the mood of the nation can be influenced or attributed to a variety of forces on a global, national and also personal level. Political events such as elections and budget announcements – and the resulting flow on effects they can have on an individual household – play an important part in a person’s happiness. What we have discovered is that while people may be worried about global and broad issues such as terrorism and economics, their happiness seems to be most influenced by issues that affect them personally – such as the cost of energy, healthcare and education. These issues ‘inside the home’ appear to contribute greatly to moods – if they are feeling pressure in these areas, their happiness decreases and conversely if they are less worried about these issues, they feel happier. Let’s take a look…
  2. 2. This report has been segmented into various stages of life that may impact significantly on how the world is perceived and the economic pressures felt.
  3. 3. Based on results from our previous studies, and this current one, we can ascertain the major influences on mood at the time of each of our Mood Monitor studies.
  4. 4. Source : SCAR Consumer Sentiment Study, June 2013 & October 2013, June 2014 & October 2014 “When you think about your mood generally about your life, lifestyle, country, economy etc, what ONE WORD would you use to best describe how you feel right now?’ June 2013 n=4066 October n=1128 June 2014 n=1434 October 2014 n=1689 Note: Calculated by considering positive verbatim responses as a percentage of all responses. Tracking Australians’ moods over the past 16 months has shown that moods certainly do fluctuate. It would appear that the mood of the nation can be influenced or attributed to a variety of forces on a global, national and also personal level. Political events such as elections and budget announcements – and the resulting flow on effects they can have on an individual household – play an important part in a person’s happiness.
  5. 5. Source : SCAR Consumer Sentiment Study, October 2014, “When you think about your mood generally about your life, lifestyle, country, economy etc, what ONE WORD would you use to best describe how you feel right now?’ n=1689 Free as a Bird N=275 Family Flock n=403 Empty Nesters n=268 Empty Nesters are feeling the most positive of all the segments, followed by the Free as a Birds. Each segment is feeling more positive now than they did in June 2014. 39% 46% 42% 47% 37% 47% 37% 44% 38% 38% 45% 60% % who are feeling positive at the moment
  6. 6. We asked Australians how they felt about their current life, lifestyle, country and economy – and these are the words they gave us…… Source : SCAR Consumer Sentiment Study, October 2014, “When you think about your mood generally about your life, lifestyle, country, economy etc, what ONE WORD would you use to best describe how you feel right now?’ n=1689 Overall, Australians are feeling positive – in particular content, happy and good. But it also looks like they might be starting to feel a little tired as we head towards the end of the year. So, how has their mood changed in the past 6 months?
  7. 7. Once we asked people to choose from a selection of ‘moods’, happy and content still came out on top – with positive taking third position. When comparing the moods with June 2014, it seems that people are feeling considerably more content and happy – and a great deal less concerned. In previous studies, pressures and impacts on households were very personal – an election, a change in government and a budget that seemed to put more pressure on households. These impacts seem to have calmed down and broader global concerns are now evident (such as terrorism), which seem to affect mood a little less – perhaps because it’s not quite as close to home. Source : SCAR Consumer Sentiment Study, June 2014 & October 2014, “And just so we can narrow it down a little, from the following list, which word or words best describes your mood at the moment?” June 2014 n=1422 October 2014 n=1689
  8. 8. All segments are predominantly feeling happy and content, with Empty Nesters being the happiest. Our June 2014 study found that Family Flocks were predominantly feeling concerned – and for many of them the recently announced Federal Budget had them worried. Four months down the track and this seems to have calmed down – and they are again feeling content and happy. Source : SCAR Consumer Sentiment Study, October 2014, “And just so we can narrow it down a little, from the following list, which word or words best describes your mood at the moment?” n=1689 Free as a Bird N=275 Family Flock n=403 Empty Nesters n=268 6% 9% 13% 20% 23% 23% 26% 29% 36% 36% Angry Pessimistic Excited Frustrated Concerned Optimistic Anxious Positive Content Happy 4% 6% 7% 21% 23% 23% 23% 24% 33% 34% Angry Pessimistic Excited Optimistic Anxious Concerned Frustrated Positive Happy Content 3% 4% 8% 14% 16% 17% 18% 24% 37% 41% Angry Excited Pessimistic Anxious Frustrated Concerned Optimistic Positive Happy Content
  9. 9. Source : Happiness Research Institute; Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, McLeod, S. A. (2007); SCAR Consumer Sentiment Study, October 2014 n=1689 For those that said their current mood was happy, this happiness seems to be derived from being grateful for what they have and being aware that they are better off than other people (locally and worldwide). The reality of not needing anything else – as opposed to not wanting anything else – has left people with a sense of happiness. They have fulfilled their basic needs, and are grateful for it. As the Happiness Institute describes, happiness is derived from relative wealth – a person’s wealth in comparison with their ‘neighbour’ – rather than their absolute wealth. Australians seem to have realised their wealth is greater than that of other countries and are grateful for it. Indeed, 59% of Australians believe that the Australian economy is doing better than most other countries in the world. It seems to be an overall feeling of ‘we’re doing okay so we can’t complain’. In their own words…
  10. 10. Source : SCAR Consumer Sentiment Study, October 2014, “And just so we can narrow it down a little, from the following list, which word or words best describes your mood at the moment?” n=1689 Free as a Bird N=275 Family Flock n=403 Empty Nesters n=268
  11. 11. Source : SCAR Consumer Sentiment Study, October 2014, “Thinking about your life overall, including your family, lifestyle, country, economy etc, what ONE WORD would you use to best describe your MOOD right now? Why? n=1689 Not having enough money and work are key drivers of unhappiness for Australians. In their own words…
  12. 12. Free as a Birds feel consistently happy and feel free of too many worries in their life. They’re positive because life is going well for them at the moment, they feel happy, work is going great and there’s nothing going wrong right now. Family Flocks gain happiness from their family but feel the pinch from financial pressures. Their anxiety seems to be increasing over time and their frustration is slightly higher right now compared with the past year. Empty Nesters are the great worriers but are kicking up their heels at the moment. This group is the most positive of the segments and this appears to be driven by a feeling of comfort and security. They’re happy to live life and enjoy what they have.
  13. 13. The Federal Budget announced earlier this year seems to have caused some pressure in June 2014 – and subsequently topics like healthcare, energy and education were worrying them. It would seem now though that whilst energy is still a top concern, personal safety is high on people’s list of worries. 1 in 4 Australians is worried about crime and violence and the percentage of people worried about future terrorist attacks has doubled since June 2014. Source : SCAR Consumer Sentiment Study, June 2014 & October 2014 “How worried are you about the following things....?” Very Worried June 2014 n=1422 October 2014 n=1689
  14. 14. In each of our Mood Monitor reports over the past 15 months we have seen that Australians are quite concerned about energy. This issue has consistently been in the top 3 worries. Interesting to note though is that although energy is the top worry for Australians right now, the percentage of people worried about it is much lower than previous Mood Monitors. This may suggest that the availability and affordability of energy is certainly a top concern for Australians but they may be getting used to it. Source : SCAR Consumer Sentiment Study, June 2013, October 2013, June 2014 & October 2014, “What impact has the rising cost of ENERGY prices had on your household?” Major Impact June 2013 n=4063 October 2013 n=4056 June 2014 n=1422; October 2014 n=1689 Free as a Bird N=275 Family Flock n=403 Empty Nesters n=268; October 2014 “How do you feel about the following statements? My power bill will probably go down now the carbon tax has been rescinded” n=1689 39% 38% 32% 40% % of people that believe energy prices have had a ‘major impact’ on their household. Family Flocks are feeling the pressure of energy prices most at the moment. 22% 41% 33% Are different lifestages affected by different concerns?
  15. 15. Source : SCAR Consumer Sentiment Study, June 2014 & October 2014, “How worried are you about the following things....?” Very worried June 2014 n=1422 Free as a Bird N=251 Family Flock n=349 Empty Nesters n=237; October 2014 n=1689 Free as a Bird N=275 Family Flock n=403 Empty Nesters n=268 Whilst each lifestage share common worries such as availability and affordability of energy, future terrorist attacks and crime and violence, there are some worries unique to a stage of life. Free as a Birds have primarily concerned with unemployment and education, Family Flocks are really feeling worried about issues that might affect their way of life and their children, and Empty Nesters are concerned about healthcare. Empty Nesters certainly seem to be more worried about things than the other segments. 19% 19% 20% 22% 26% Availability and affordability of energy Crime and violence Quality and availability of eductaion Future terrorist attacks Unemployment 21% 24% 25% 25% 26% Drugs Illegal immigration Future terrorist attacks Crime and violence Availability and affordability of energy 26% 27% 28% 29% 31% Illegal immigration Healthcare Availability and affordability of energy Crime and violence Future terrorist attacks
  16. 16. Source : SCAR Consumer Sentiment Study, June 2013, October 2013, June 2014, October 2014 “What impact has the rising cost of food prices had on your household?” June 2013 n=4056 Free as a Bird N=745 Family Flock n=1386 Empty Nesters n=500; October 2013 n=1131 Free as a Bird N=249 Family Flock n=288 Empty Nesters n=141; June 2014 n=1422 Free as a Bird N=251 Family Flock n=395 Empty Nesters n=237; October 2014 n=1689 Free as a Bird N=275 Family Flock n=403 Empty Nesters n=268 The impact of grocery prices appears to have lessened over the past 15 months. It would appear that prices are still a concern for people but it’s almost as if they’re getting used to it. Certainly Coles and Woolworths have tapped into this concern about grocery prices with their advertising campaigns of ‘Down, down, prices are down’ and ‘Cheap Cheap’.
  17. 17. Historically, consumer sentiment can plummet at budget time and this year’s budget has certainly had that result in Australia. Our June 2014 Mood Monitor showed a positivity score equal to that from June 2013. Four months on and the mood of the nation appears to have turned around significantly – with the highest positivity score and happiness we have seen in 16 months. Whilst Australians have pressures and concerns in their lives, most have recognised again that Australia isn’t doing it too bad. The country’s ‘relative wealth’ (wealth in comparison with others) is recognised and people feel grateful for what they have. As we’ve discovered, there seems to be a correlation between people’s happiness and the things worrying them on a personal level. Those things that hit a bit closer to home such as cost of living and services, cause Australians to feel less happy. On the contrary, whilst Australians might be worried about broader issues like terrorist attacks and crime and violence, it doesn’t affect their personal happiness. They’re concerned about them but still feel happy in their part of the world and with their life. It will be interesting to see whether this happier mood continues on and if it has a positive effect on retail results for the busy Christmas period.
  18. 18. The survey was conducted by Southern Cross Austereo using its online panel nationally. The panel is obtained from our radio networks database under the labels of ‘VIP’ on the TODAY Network and ‘Music Jury’ on the MMM Network. All members of these databases would be considered listeners to these stations. The database contains about 246,000 members. Of these, approximately 15,000 are a part of our online community. The is split between the Today VIP database and the Triple M database. Members of the Triple M Network database were asked to take part in the study, and over 1100 did so. Additionally, 500 external respondents were recruited to complete the survey. Members of this database have no knowledge of Southern Cross Austereo’s involvement and aren’t necessarily listeners to either network. Certain questions asked for an ‘essay’ or ‘verbatim’ type of response OR brands/words that first came to mind. A keyword search was used to sort and rank the responses to these questions. The results are an un-weighted sample, but are reflective of the Southern Cross Austereo Austereo audience. SCA brands reach approximately 40% of the 10+ population and approximately 46% of the 25-54 population in the five metropolitan markets in Australia, suggesting it would be reasonable to consider these results to be a fair if not fully balanced representation of the opinions in these marketplaces. Furthermore, as it is an online survey, the respondents would also be skewed towards being ‘early adopters’ for technology, ‘trend setters’ in general and likely to be a good early indication of brand leaders, trend setters and early adopters in general. These research surveys conducted by Austereo are done so to provide a general understanding of the opinions, interests and attitudes of the metropolitan marketplaces only.

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