Business planning, Growth

City-based consumer confidence outshines rural Australia: Report

Michelle Hammond /

Start-ups are being encouraged to look at country consumers as a separate entity to their city counterparts, with new research highlighting multiple differences between the two groups.

 

Roy Morgan’s latest State of the Nation report – which looks at trends within society, technology, politics, the environment and the economy – is drawn from the polling of 50,000 consumers and 24,000 businesses, across regional and urban Australia.

 

The research found signficant differences in sentiment between the two groups, with city-based consumers having more confidence in the economy and urban businesses more likely to invest in staff and equipment.

 

Norman Morris, Roy Morgan industry communications director, says Australian citizens share many similarities, regardless of whether they live in the city or the country.

 

“Many findings of the ‘city versus country’ focus made sense given the differences between city and country life,” Morris says.

 

“However, there are many differences between the two regions, particularly in health, unemployment and wealth.”

 

For example, a higher proportion of city residents participate in sport and exercise, suggesting health and fitness options are more popular among city-based consumers than rural consumers.

 

Business confidence is higher in the city; with the “utilities, water and waste” sector the most confident. This is in contrast to the country, where mining is the most confident industry.

 

Meanwhile, city-based businesses are more likely to increase staff numbers and investment in the near future.

 

As with business confidence, consumer confidence is also higher in the city due to a higher proportion of residents expecting good times financially in the next twelve months.

 

Not surprisingly, unemployment rates tend to be higher in the country, with the younger generation most likely to be unemployed in both regions.

 

This suggests there could be an opportunity to establish a youth-oriented jobs network, either rurally or in the city.

 

There could also be an opportunity to become a training provider in a rural area, with the research showing education levels are much higher in the city.

 

In particular, a greater proportion of city residents hold a university degree compared to those in the country.

 

Financial data indicates that those in the city also have higher net wealth, higher personal and household incomes, and higher home values.

 

Morris says the research also highlights the differing concerns of city and country residents.

 

“A much higher proportion of city residents rated the environment as the most important issue compared with those living in the country,” he says.

 

“[However,] ‘government, political, human rights’ rated much higher in the country than in the city.”

 

With regard to country of birth, a higher proportion of country residents were born in Australia compared to those living in the city.

 

Apart from those born in Australia, the second most prevalent racial background in the city is Asian, whereas in the country it is those born in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

 

For start-ups looking to define their target markets, this last finding could prove useful.

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