Roy Morgan Research
January 18, 2022

ANZ-Roy Morgan Consumer Confidence drops 8.1pts to 97.9 as ‘Omicron variant’ surges and there are shortages of PCR tests, Rapid Antigen tests and broader supply chain issues

Topic: Consumer Confidence
Finding No: 8895

ANZ-Roy Morgan Consumer Confidence decreased during the second week of January, down 8.1pts to 97.9 and is now at its lowest since October 2020 during Victoria’s second wave of COVID-19. In addition, Consumer Confidence is now 10.8 pts below the same week a year ago, January 16/17, 2021 (108.7).

The fall is likely related to several factors including the surging ‘Omicron variant’ of COVID-19 which has also led to shortages in PCR tests, Rapid Antigen tests, vaccine dose availability for children aged 5-11 (which began last week), and supply chain issues with shortages of key goods in supermarkets and other retailers. Many Australians have also returned from their holidays and were back at work last week after a positive Consumer Confidence reading to start the year.

Consumer Confidence this week was down in all States, except in South Australia - in which Consumer Confidence had already dropped a week ago, and is now below the neutral level of 100 in all States. Driving the decrease were negative movements across the index with particularly large falls personal finances compared to a year ago current buying intentions.

Current financial conditions

  • Now 25% (down 5ppts) of Australians say their families are ‘better off’ financially than this time last year compared to 30% (up 7ppts), that say their families are ‘worse off’ financially.

Future financial conditions

  • 36% of Australians (down 2ppts) expect their family to be ‘better off’ financially this time next year, compared to 19% (up 3ppts) that expect to be ‘worse off’ financially (the highest figure for this indicator for well over a year since September 2020).

Current economic conditions

  • Now 13% (down 1ppt), of Australians expect ‘good times’ for the Australian economy over the next twelve months compared to 29% (up 5ppts), that expect ‘bad times’.

Future economic conditions

  • In the longer term, just under a fifth of Australians, 17% (down 4ppts), are expecting ‘good times’ for the economy over the next five years compared to 17% (up 1ppt) expecting ‘bad times’.

Time to buy a major household item

  • Buying intentions decreased again this week, with 33% (down 5ppts) of Australians, saying now is a ‘good time to buy’ major household items while 39% (up 7ppts) say now is a ‘bad time to buy’ (the highest figure for this indicator for well over a year since August 2020).

ANZ Head of Australian Economics, David Plank, commented:

Block Quote

Consumer confidence dropped 7.6% last week as Omicron case numbers surged. Confidence is now below the neutral level of 100 for all states, though it is above neutral in the Territories (on admittedly small samples). It is also lower than the level during the Delta surge. Consumer confidence readings are usually positive during the month of January and the level of 97.9 is the weakest January result since 1992, when the Australian economy was experiencing sharply rising unemployment. We don’t think the economy is as weak as these data might suggest, with the shock of the Omicron surge and strains on testing capability the key drivers of the fall rather than underlying economic conditions. But the result highlights that concerns about COVID have the potential to significantly impact the economy if they linger.”

Related Research Reports

The latest Roy Morgan Consumer Confidence Monthly Report is available on the Roy Morgan Online Store. It provides demographic breakdowns for Age, Sex, State, Region (Capital Cities/ Country), Generations, Lifecycle, Socio-Economic Scale, Work Status, Occupation, Home Ownership, Voting Intention, Roy Morgan Value Segments and more

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size Percentage Estimate
40% – 60% 25% or 75% 10% or 90% 5% or 95%
1,000 ±3.0 ±2.7 ±1.9 ±1.3
5,000 ±1.4 ±1.2 ±0.8 ±0.6
7,500 ±1.1 ±1.0 ±0.7 ±0.5
10,000 ±1.0 ±0.9 ±0.6 ±0.4
20,000 ±0.7 ±0.6 ±0.4 ±0.3
50,000 ±0.4 ±0.4 ±0.3 ±0.2

Related Findings

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