AUSTRALIAN NORMALITY INDEX – THE SENTIMENT IN VICTORIA WORSENS

AUSTRALIAN NORMALITY INDEX – THE SENTIMENT IN VICTORIA WORSENS

As we all move towards 5 months of radical change in the way we live and work, we at Forethought continue to monitor how Australians are faring. Our aim is to continue to develop our understanding of shifts in consumer needs, feelings and behaviours in response to the pandemic and ensuing economic contractions, and what this means for business.
The August 2020 Normality Index shows the impact of the resurgence of the virus in Victoria. While this was felt most strongly locally it has had clear reverberations nationally. 

KEY FINDINGS FROM FORETHOUGHT NORMALITY INDEX – AUGUST

  • NATIONAL DIVISIONS
    • VICTORIANS are feeling the personal and economic hardships and deprivations associated with ISO#2.  However, people in NSW, QLD and SA are also warily observing the Victorian resurgence and accompanying lockdown, and this has impacted on their sense of normality – overall the national score has moved backwards month-on-month from a high in June of 65% to now just 54%.
The starkest differences in the NI can be seen between WA (score of 74%) and Victoria (43%).  Consumers in those markets are experiencing Australian life very differently from one another.  This means that businesses operating nationally do have to take this into account with both the content and the language of their messaging and market offers.
  • EMOTIONAL RESPONSE
    • ANXIETY IS TRIGGERED by the word ‘COVID’.  Notwithstanding the differences in NI scores there was strong alignment on the overall emotional reaction to the term ‘COVID’ nationally.  The term continues to elicit a sharp spike in anxiety, sadness, anger and shame.  Again, this means that we need to continue to be sensitive to the way we message in this environment – and here there is national homogeneity.
  • DIGITAL EXPERIENCE DISAPPOINTS
    • DIGITAL CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE NEEDS WORK. In five short months organisations have been forced to deliver years of digital transformation to remain viable in the market.  However, simply delivering products and services digitally is not enough. The market place has only a slim margin of tolerance for digital experiences that do not meet expectations.  In August 50% of Australians had shopped online, yet less than a third (27%) of them were satisfied with the experience.  Recurring themes were issues with on-time delivery, product descriptors, quality of products, payment mechanics, and incorrect products delivered.
  • THE LONG HAUL 
    • AUSTRALIANS BELIEVE ‘NORMAL’ IS A LONG WAY OFF. In April 49% of Australians thought we would be back to normal within 6 months.  Today, 4 months later, this number has fallen to less than 20%.