Australia’s 20 million people face the usual pressures of life in World 1, from fast-paced urban living to aging and obesity.
In response, they are turning to four lifestyle trends which increasingly are driving consumer behaviors: personal makeovers, attention to wellness, home makeovers, and “sea change” towards the simple life. Together, these trends offer clues to future directions for Australian lifestyles.
Trend 1: Australians are engaging in personal makeovers. Australians are spending a greater percentage of their incomes to enhance their personal appearance. Aging may be a chief driver of this trend. The median age is currently 35.4 and, as in other World 1 nations, it is rising. By 2015 the largest groups will be in their 40s, and the number of people 65 and over is projected to grow 40.8% from 2001 to 2010.
Trend 2: Australians are increasingly focused on wellness. As Australia’s population ages and gains weight, more Australians are focusing on issues of wellness. Despite their image as sports-mad and outdoorsy, about 60% of Australians are overweight or obese—more than double the rate of 20 years ago—due in large part to increasingly sedentary behavior.10 Figures from the New South Wales Centre for the Advancement of Adolescent Health show that about 23% of Australian children and adolescents are overweight or obese. Australians are attempting to reverse this trend.
Trend 3: Homes get a makeover. The popularity of home makeover shows such as Backyard Blitz, Changing Rooms, and Renovation Rescue reflect a growing trend in home and garden renovation.
3 BUSINESS IMPLICATIONS
- The interest in renovations and furnishings may reflect an intensified Australian focus on the house, perhaps driven by the higher spending and increased debt that home buying now requires. This shift of money and attention could affect consumer psychology on a variety of other purchases, both related to the home and not.
- Australianswillbeincreasinglyopentoinnovative products and programs to combat obesity, from new foods to exercise video games. Interest in weight loss may intensify over the next 10 years as the boomers’ aging makes Australia’s largest cohorts people in their forties and fifties.
- Thesea-changemovementmaybeanotherindicatorof a broader cultural shift towards postmodernism, which includes valuing intangibles such as quality time and leisure. This could boost the market for value-driven products and services—anything from hybrid vehicles to fair trade coffee.