Square Holes has been tracking the financial and mental state of mind of South Australians via a representative survey of 400 adults each month over the massive local and global impact of COVID-19.
The latest results collected in late July to early August finds consumer confidence starting to weaken as discussions of second waves in Melbourne and elsewhere grow. While significantly better than the record confidence low in March, the last two months have seen consecutive declines in confidence amongst South Australian adults.
Similarly, confidence compared to one month ago, has also declined, to levels below those recorded since April.
Confidence in the next 12 months is lowest for 50-64 year olds, with confidence compared with last month lowest amongst 65+ year olds.
Financial security in 12 months time is also weaker in the latest survey compared with the last two months.
While half believe their financial security in around 12 months will be about the same, there is clearly strongest financial optimism amongst younger South Australians and pessimism amongst older South Australians, as has been illustrated in previous mind and mood surveys.
Financial security compared with 12 months ago is indicating some feeling better, with increasing levels of ‘better’ over the past two month – 20% May, 22% June and 24% July; balanced by a small rise in those feeling worse – 29% May, 31% June and 32% July.
Similar to financial security in 12 months, older South Australians are more likely to be feeling worse than 12 months ago, and younger South Australians are feeling financially more secure.
South Australians have adjusted well to the pandemic, with 53% believing their mental health and well-being is about the same as 12 months ago. Yet the latest survey recorded a significant rise in those saying their mental health and well-being is worse than 12 months ago.
Interestingly, while younger South Australians are overall feeling more financially buoyant compared to older age groups, there has been indication across the mind and mood survey that younger South Australians are finding 2020 more psychologically challenging.
For example, younger South Australians recorded higher levels of feeling ‘tired for no good reason,’ ‘that everything was an effort,’ and ‘nervous’ most of the time or all of the time. Perhaps the spending optimism is to compensate for such psychological sensitivity.
March and April were challenging months for many, and May was viewed as exiting a very scary and uncertain predicament, even an emotional celebration, yet there are now signs that many are being to feel nervous financially and psychologically. Let’s hope our neighbours in Victoria and elsewhere see a speedy flattening of their curves for their own health and wellbeing and for the confidence and optimism of South Australians.
Square Holes is seeking a small number of partners in the mind and mood research we have been conducting to help make sense of the impact on South Australians.