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Australians Remain Confident Despite Global Outlook


25 January 2013

Westpac has launched the Westpac Australia Day Report which reveals that more than two thirds of Australians (67%) believe the country has a strong economic outlook. Of those who claimed the outlook was strong, two thirds (66%) believed this positive trend will continue.

For half of all respondents, the resources industry and growth of Asian markets are seen as the greatest strengths of the Australian economy (53% and 50% respectively).

This positive sentiment also extends to the personal finances of respondents, with two in three (67%) optimistic about their personal situation for the next financial year, and a further 19% feeling very positive about what's to come. 

The Westpac Australia Day Report, a consumer survey conducted by independent research company CoreData, was designed to uncover what constitutes the authentic Australian identity. The report examines diverse areas of Australian life, from a review of financial goals and Australians' sentiment towards the economy, through to light hearted topics such as popular culture, sport and what makes the ideal Australia Day. 

Gai McGrath, General Manager, Westpac Retail Banking, said the positive economic sentiment was encouraging and not completely unexpected. 

“This optimism is not surprising considering our resilient economy. Australians are known for their positive attitude and feel they can handle anything thrown their way however they also understand there is more they could be doing to make their money work harder for them. It is clear that economic problems in overseas markets are contributing to the more cautious behaviour that we are seeing from our customers. Both businesses and households continue to pay down their debts and increase their savings, which is a good thing,” said Ms McGrath. 

“In fact, more than a third (37%) of respondents cited 'saving more' as their priority for 2013, followed by making and sticking to a budget (28%). Westpac has always encouraged customers to adopt a strong saving strategy, so it's pleasing to see so many Australians are serious about taking that essential step to better securing their financial future.”

The report also reveals that the desire to save is not just reserved for Australian adults, almost nine out of ten parents stating that their children save, with 70% putting money into a children's savings account fund.

“It is encouraging to see our children recognising the value of money at an early age, and that they are already beginning to strive for financial goals. It is these habits, instilled early on, that will enable today's children to become the home and business owners of tomorrow,” said Ms McGrath.

Looking at the nation's economy, the Westpac Australia Day Report revealed that Australians have been paying attention to the way European and US markets are behaving, with the single biggest challenge to our economy perceived to be uncertainty in global markets (31%), followed by the slowdown of the mining boom (20%).

In terms of investment, real estate is still considered the best 'value for money' asset (30%), followed by Australian shares, term deposits and managed funds (26%, 14% and 7% respectively).

The Westpac Australia Day Report comes as Westpac recently launched a brand campaign anchored in its heritage, highlighting its history as the nation's first business which has backed Australia and its customers since 1817.

“Westpac is proud of its heritage, but what defines us is our continued relevance to customers and the important role we play in supporting our community and country. Our focus continues to be firmly on helping our customers move forward, in big ways and small,” said Ms McGrath.

Key findings from the Westpac Australia Day Report:

Economic Outlook

  • More than two thirds of Australians (67%) believe the country has a strong economic outlook.
  • Of those who claimed the outlook was strong, two thirds (66%) believed this positive trend will continue for the next five years.
  • West Australians (67%) are more likely to believe the mining industry is the greatest strength of the Australian economy than those in other states (53% total).
  • Males have a higher tendency to feel positive about their financial outlook (71%) when compared to women (64%).
  • Men are more likely to consider direct equities to be the best investment option in Australia, while women have a preference for residential properties (44% and 36% respectively).

Australian Parenting – Financial Attitudes

  • Seven out of ten respondents (70%) claimed that their children save money by keeping it in a dedicated bank or savings account, followed by a money box (16%). 12% of parents claimed that their children don't save money at all.
  • Only 27% of Australian parents start thinking seriously about the financial future of their children from the day they were born and only one in seven parents (14%) begin thinking seriously about it before their birth.
  • Expats living in Australia are even less likely to worry about their children's financial future, with 21% of respondents claiming they did not think seriously about it at all, compared to 13% of Australians.
  • When asked about their children's financial future, 70% of respondents stated that they hope they will become financially independent.

Celebrating Australia Day

  • Almost just as many expats as Australian born respondents confirmed that they celebrate Australia Day (82% and 86% respectively), indicating you don't have to be born in Australia to appreciate the national holiday.
  • Men (91%) are more likely to celebrate the day than women (81%).
  • Two thirds of respondents (68%) believe 'spending time with family and friends' to be the most important element to a great Australia Day followed by 'a good BBQ' and 'good weather' (14% and 10% respectively). Less than 1% of respondents thought beer was the most important element of a great Australia Day.

Defining an Australian

  • When asked to define what makes a typical Australian, the top characteristic selected was 'mateship' (by 16% of respondents) followed closely by being 'friendly' (15%).
  • Top Five Characteristics of What Defines a Typical Australian:
    1. Mateship (16%)
    2. Friendly (15%)
    3. Laidback (14%)
    4. Hard working (13%)
    5. Tolerant, accepting (8%) and unpretentious (8%)

Notes to Editor:

Source: CoreData Consulting Pty Ltd, commissioned by Westpac Banking Corporation (WBC) (ABN 33 007 457 141). The Westpac Australia Day Report survey was conducted by independent researcher, CoreData, who surveyed 1,000 respondents currently residing in Australia, from December 12th 2012 to December 19th 2012.

CoreData is an international research and strategy consultancy which specialises in financial services. Based out of Sydney, Australia they also have offices in United Kingdom, China, The United States and the Philippines. CoreData uses a number of syndicated benchmark proprietary indexes across a broad range of business areas within the financial services industry.

For further information regarding the methodology used in the report please contact WBC Media Relations Unit on 02 8253 9484.