Consumer Sentiment: Australia vs. the US and UK


Funny.  Just attended a market outlook presentation for 2013 with the ever entertaining Phil Ruthven of IBISWorld; part of the Australian Marketing Institute Series.

In the pitch he shares long term view of consumer sentiment across markets

Australian Consumer Sentiment History

Perspective for Strategic Marketers

US Consumer Sentiment History

Perspective for Strategic Marketers


The Aussie market shows a nervousness with lots of ups and downs but a relatively positive outlook; in fact we’ve been “up” 65% of the last 40 years or 73% of the last 20.
The US market is much more stable, with fewer ups and downs and again, until recently folks are pretty happy, with sentiment having been positive for 42% of the last 33 years.

The long term context around consumer sentiment is really helpful at this stage and a rebuff to the economists bleating about how clueless the Aussie consumer is.  Their argument runs something along the lines of “….they don’t know how lucky they are…why if they were in Athens…” etc.  Of course that’s exactly the mindset of the local consumer..they usually won’t offer an opinion without first running a detailed comparison with OECD peers (not).  Firstly, Aussie sentiment is only slightly in the red so why the fuss? At ~2.5% growth this year and that mostly in the mining sector – it’s not like we should be thrilled.  Unlike Greece, we swallowed the bitter pill of reform back in the 80′s and 90′s, so it could be argued that Aussies have earned a right to more robust growth in the mid-term.  And given the storm clouds on the horizon in EU economies, the recent falls in commodity pricing  and talk of the government raising taxes on retirement savings; it’s probably fair that they are a bit worried about their outlook.

So where’s the funny part?  Well it was when he introduced the UK into the equation.  You see – apparently (and this was news to us all) they’ve got a slightly different disposition….


UK Consumer Sentiment HistoryAcording to his very (I hope) tongue in cheek chart, our poor friends in the UK can’t buy a happy day...having been happy in their outlook only 1% of the time for the last  20 years (OECD sentiment monitor)!    A wag suggested that the brief positive blips can be traced directly back to:  .. a sunny summer..the Falklands War..winning a cricket series against Australia (see neg sentiment in Oz) European football final.
I’m not making any point in particular about our English brethren..just sharing the data ; )
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