Consumers are redirecting an average of almost $450 a month, largely towards essential goods and services or savings, and adjusting their shopping behaviours in response to cost of living pressures, a new CommBank consumer survey shows.

The latest CommBank Consumer Insights report is based on a survey of more than 5200 Australian consumers between May and June 2023. The report provides actionable insights for businesses, particularly in retail and hospitality, based on an analysis of consumer attitudes, motivations and expectations of their experiences amidst changes to the real and digital economy. 

It shows discerning consumers are making more cautious choices and researching more before they buy, while businesses were encouraged to up their focus on digital technology to enhance purchasing experiences, personalise interactions and boost customer loyalty.

According to the survey, around 27 per cent of Australians have not enough, or just enough, money to meet household expenses. Irrespective of their financial situation, Australian consumers are redirecting $448.40 per month on average to cover the rising cost of living.

The survey also shows there is little difference in the monthly amounts redirected by people living comfortably ($425) and those doing it tough ($471). However, more comfortable Australians are likely to save this amount, whereas those doing it tough tend to cover bills and essentials.

Consumers are spending less on discretionary goods and services, redirecting those savings to everyday food and essentials and household expenses like utility bills, fuel and mortgage repayments.

Australians adopting deal-seeking behaviours

Meanwhile, rising living costs are also prompting behavioural and lifestyle adjustments, with more than nine in 10 Australians adopting deal-seeking behaviours and reviewing their spending choices (90 per cent). This includes using promotional codes, cashback offers and rewards (73 per cent), and spending more time researching before buying (66 per cent). Almost half are only buying from businesses they know and trust (46 per cent).

Commonwealth Bank's General Manager Business Banking Channels, Marcel Klassen, said rising living costs are having a far-reaching impact on the consumer psyche, and this is changing their expectations of retail and hospitality experiences.

“While some people are under more pressure than others, a value-driven mindset is more pervasive. That’s heightening the demand for retail and hospitality experiences that instil trust, while saving time and money,” Mr Klaassen said.

“But attracting customers and maintaining their loyalty doesn’t always mean discounting. It can be ensuring they are protected against scams, keeping their data safe while not collecting unnecessary personal information.”

“Data security is also essential to trusted interactions where consumers can confidently share personal details and get a more seamless and customised experience in return.”

Data security and control the most important factor for consumers

More than eight in 10 consumers (84 per cent) said retailers and hospitality providers should use technology to enhance the purchasing process and personalise the experience, but amidst concerns about cyber breaches, consumers also expect the personal data that powers these improvements to be secure.

When asked about the must-haves when purchasing from a retail or hospitality business, data security and control ranked as one of the most highest imperatives for consumers, while businesses were urged to be transparent with data collection and sharing (84 per cent) and offer them control to view, update and delete stored data (81 per cent). 

Consumers are also alert to the rising incidences of scams and fraud, with 66 per cent unsure which retail and hospitality websites can be trusted. More than 46 per cent also actively avoid online marketplaces directly due to fear of losing money to scammers.

Payment options a top must-have for Australians

A wide range of payment options allowing for faster checkout was a top consideration for Australians looking to make a purchase with 84 per cent of consumers agreeing it is either nice to have or a must have.

That is even higher for Generation Z consumers, with 40 per cent saying payment optionality is non-negotiable. Younger generations are also more comfortable using other digital payment options, including mobile payments and buy now pay later.

Mr Klaassen said CommBank’s recently launched “plug in” ecommerce solution, PowerBoard enables businesses to seamlessly deliver payment choice for its customers via a single API integration, combined with bank grade security.1

“CommBank’s deep understanding of merchant and consumer needs and advanced AI capabilities means our customers have access to the latest payments technology,” Mr Klaassen said.

“Being able to choose their preferred payment method is clearly important, particularly for younger generations, who expect flexibility and options along the purchasing journey.”

About the Consumer Insights Report

CommBank Consumer Insights is an exclusive, wide-ranging analysis of the Australian consumer. This edition focuses on understanding consumer attitudes, motivations and expectations of their experiences amid changes to the real and digital economy.

This edition is based on an online quantitative survey conducted by Fifth Quadrant on behalf of the Commonwealth Bank. The survey was conducted in May and June 2023 and was completed by 5,279 consumers of goods and services. Each respondent answered questions relating to one category where they had spent money in recent months, including:

Groceries and liquor (n=406), clothing, footwear and accessories (n=406), homewares and household appliances (n=408), consumer electronics and entertainment including books, games, music and media (n=404), recreational sporting and outdoor goods (n=407), motor vehicle parts and accessories (n=406), health and beauty products (n=406), hardware, DIY, building and garden supplies (n=407), personal care services including hairdressing, beauty and weight loss treatments (n=406), fast food and quick service restaurants (n=405), pubs and clubs (n=408), restaurants and cafes (n=407), and accommodation (n=403).

Things you should know: The information contained in this media release is published solely for informational purposes and provides general market-related information, and is not intended to be an investment research report. It does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider seeking independent financial advice before making any decision based on information contained in this media release. The information in this media release and any opinions, conclusions or recommendations are reasonably held or made, based on the information available at the time of its publication but no representation or warranty, either expressed or implied, is made or provided as to the accuracy, reliability or completeness of any statement made in this media release.

1Eligibility criteria, terms and conditions and fees apply to CommBank’s PowerBoard eCommerce solution. Find out more at

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