Consumers still have appetite for food and entertainment

Australian consumers might be avoiding the shops, but they’re still prepared to indulge in food and entertainment, according to the latest MasterCard survey on consumer purchasing priorities.


The research, based on a survey of 647 Australian consumers, shows nearly a third (32%) visit fine dining restaurants once a month.


More than 40% plan to visit a pub or nightclub in the coming months and, of those who visit pubs or bars, 33% visit two to three times a month.


Meanwhile, 31% of the survey respondents are looking to visit an amusement park in the near future.


The survey also reveals 12% of Generation Y consumers spend more than 30% of their income, compared to 3% of Generation X and just 1% of baby boomers.


Andrew Cartwright, MasterCard Australia country manager, says Australians are keeping a “watchful eye” on the ever-changing economic situation and are mindful of their outgoings.


“This means choices on non-essential spending, such as leisure and entertainment, will be more carefully made with a sharper focus on value and satisfaction,” he says.


The news comes on the back of the 2011 Australian Salary Movement Index report, by consulting firm Hay Group, which predicts salaries to increase by 4.25% in 2011.


The report is based on market results from almost 440 organisations and more than 250,000 jobs for the reporting period to May 2011.


The report also found a sharp return in incentivised pay, with bonuses now more widely used across all work levels to reward performance and retain top talent.


In 2011, incentivised pay applied to 75% of employees, compared to 66% of employees in 2010.


“During the economic downturn, many organisations placed greater emphasis on rewarding for performance,” Hay Group senior consultant Steven Paola says.


“Our research shows this trend has continued long after the peak of the crisis, with bonus payments attached to performance metrics now making up a greater proportion of total annual salaries.”


“We would expect this focus to continue even as the economic environment improves and organisations return to profitability.”


The index reveals Perth-based workers earn 2.3% above the median salary, while salaries in Brisbane are 0.7% below the median.


Meanwhile, salaries in Sydney sit at 0.1% above the median while Melbourne workers earn 2% below the national median.


Paola says “a general sense of uncertainty” is creating a cautious and conservative approach with regard to salary movements.


“However, there is optimism in the marketplace, which subsequently can lead to more people starting to job-hop,” he warns.


“Organisations therefore need to look at retaining these people and reducing turnover through a range of remuneration strategies, among other things.”


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