Consumers proud of SA's COVID-19 management

Consumers proud of SA's COVID-19 management

Agribusiness
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SA consumers have responded positively to the state's handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

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SA consumers have responded positively to the state's handling of the coronavirus pandemic, with 84 per cent proud of SA, compared to 63pc in February's State Monitor, according to BankSA.

BankSA commissioned the research as an interim gauge on consumer confidence before the next scheduled BankSA State Monitor survey in July.

Overall consumer confidence dropped by 1.9 index points to 99.4, sitting marginally below the 100-point baseline, but still four points above last October's all-time low of 95.2 points.

BankSA chief executive Nick Reade said the results showed South Australians were weathering the COVID-19 storm relatively well.

"South Australians are resilient, and the way people have supported restrictions is to be commended," he said.

"The BankSA survey shows the COVID-19 epidemic does not reflect a crisis in confidence in SA. Pride in our state has increased significantly, and despite restrictions, more people are confident their financial position will improve."

The results show that 50pc of people were positive about their own household situation - up 6pc since February.

In further good news for retailers, many of whom are re-opening after weeks of closures, 42pc of consumers reported confidence that the climate for spending will improve, compared to 32pc who were not confident.

The JobSeeker and JobKeeper initiatives have given many consumers confidence that their incomes are secure, and business support initiatives by the state and federal governments have contributed to optimism that employers will see their way through the current period of restrictions. - NICK READE

The coronavirus pandemic had little impact on how people felt about unemployment since February, with an unchanged 40pc of respondents worried, and a greater number of people saying they were not worried (59pc, up from 55pc).

"The JobSeeker and JobKeeper initiatives have given many consumers confidence that their incomes are secure, and business support initiatives by the state and federal governments have contributed to optimism that employers will see their way through the current period of restrictions," Mr Reade said.

But it was clear COVID-19 had hit consumer spending and business activity significantly, and these were the main contributors to the reduction in confidence overall.

Only 22pc of consumers were likely to make a major purchase in the next three months, compared to 41pc in February.

Less than a third had made a significant financial purchase in the previous three months, compared to almost half in February.

Mr Reade said that many consumers were understandably cautious about household income, job security, the possibility of a second wave of COVID-19, and employment not yet returning to normal levels or conditions.

"However, as retailers begin to open their doors again, it's important to back SA businesses as much as possible," he said.

"Spending in the local economy keeps people in jobs, takes the pressure off the unemployment queues and helps build our state's economy."

Not unexpectedly, 70pc of consumers perceived that business activity had decreased, compared to 50pc in February.

Additionally, only a quarter were confident they could change to a better job if needed, compared to 30pc two months earlier.

The sudden shift for many people to use new technology for work and staying in touch was reflected in two thirds of respondents who felt confident they could adapt to new technology, down from 73pc in February.

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