Business planning

Australia divided into consumer “tribes”: KPMG

Michelle Hammond /

Australia’s population can be divided into two distinct “tribes” based on their consumption habits, according to a new report, highlighting opportunities for start-ups to appeal to a particular demographic.

 

A new lifestyle trends survey by KPMG Australia, in collaboration with online community Nine Rewards, is based on the responses of 2,013 Australians.

 

In order to ascertain the nation’s latest lifestyle trends, questions covered a range of topics including demography, confidence in the future, lifestyle, behaviour and the use of technology.

 

According to the survey, Australia is comprised of two groups of people, which are referred to as the progressives and the conservatives.

 

“There are two Australians: the edgy, the connected and the modern-lifestyle-inclined, and then there are the conservatives,” KPMG demographer Bernard Salt says.

 

“It is important for business… to strike the right balance between appealing to the progressives and also remembering to engage with the other Australia.”

 

Interestingly, the divisions are not always based on age or income. Lifestyle choices were found to have a far more powerful influence on consumers’ mindsets and behaviours.

 

For example, a key finding within the survey is the division between those with children and those without, which is thought to have a major impact on spending habits.

 

According to the survey, those without children largely fall into two age groups: the 18-34 bracket, and those aged 55 and over.

 

During the years in between, the survey reveals very different lifestyle behaviour, particularly among those aged in their 40s.

 

“Those with young and dependent children tend not to eat out or to have holidays. This is the time in life when households are most likely to have a series of credit cards,” Salt says.

 

Multiple credit card users are more likely to be aged over 45, whereas new credit card users are more likely to be aged 18-24 years.

 

 

“This finding runs counter to what many might think is the issue with credit cards. It’s not Generation Y with multiple cards – it’s the boomers,” Salt says.

 

According to the survey, the richest households usually contain KIPPERS, which stands for Kids in Parents’ Pockets Eroding Retirement Savings.

 

Of the households surveyed, 5% earn more than $200,000 per annum while 11% earn less than $30,000 a year.

 

The richest households tend to comprise a middle-aged couple with children in the late teens and early twenties, while poorer households typically comprise university students or pensioners.

 

Meanwhile, the most regular holidaymakers are those aged 25-29 and the 60-plus age bracket, with 15% of both groups taking three or more holidays a year.

 

 

This is in contrast to 40-somethings, of which less than 5% take three or more holidays a year.

 

While credit card usage, household finances and holiday intentions may vary, the one topic that almost all respondents agree on is being connected online.

 

The survey reveals 91% of Australians use the internet, of which 92% use email, followed by Facebook (69%), MSN (25%) and Google (11%).

 

 

Another part of the survey shows the greatest uptake in dating sites such as eHarmony is among 50-somethings, which could reflect the higher divorce rate among those in their 40s.

 

According to Salt, start-ups should be aiming their offerings at Generation Y or baby boomers, suggesting they steer clear of 40-somethings.

 

“These are the peak stress years associated with child rearing: teenagers and heavy financial burdens appear,” he says.

 

“This is also the time in life when people are least likely to be happy in their relationship.  Australians are most likely to separate and divorce in their late 30s or early 40s.”

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