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Australia’s population can be divided
into two distinct ‘tribes’ based on their
consumption habits, according to a
new report, highlighting opportunities
for start-ups to appeal to a particular
A new lifestyle trends survey by KPMG Australia, in
collaboration with online community Nine Rewards, is based on
the responses of 2013 Australians.
In order to ascertain the nation’s latest lifestyle trends,
questions covered a range of topics including demography,
confidence in the future, lifestyle, behaviour and the use of
According to the survey, Australia comprises two groups
of people, which are referred to as the progressives and the
PROGRESSIVES AND CONSERVATIVES
“T here are two Australians: the edgy, the connected and the
modern-lifestyle-inclined, and then there are the conservatives,”
KPMG demographer Bernard Salt says.
“It is important for business... to strike the right balance
between appealing to the progressives and also remembering to
engage with the other Australia.”
Interestingly, the divisions are not always based on age or
income. Lifestyle choices were found to have a far more powerful
influence on consumers’ mind-sets and behaviours.
WITH CHILDREN AND WITHOUT
A key finding within the survey is the division between those
with children and those without, which is thought to have a major
impact on spending habits.
According to the survey, those without children largely fall into
two age groups: the 18–34 bracket, and those aged 55 and over.
During the years in between, the survey reveals very different
lifestyle behaviour, particularly among those aged in their 40s.
“T hose with young and dependent children tend not to eat out
or to have holidays. This is the time in life when households are
most likely to have a series of credit cards,” Salt says.
Multiple credit card users are more likely to be aged over 45,
whereas new credit card users are more likely to be aged 18–24 years.
“ T h is finding runs counter to what many might think is the
issue with credit cards. It’s not Generation Y with multiple cards
— it’s the boomers,” Salt says.
According to the survey, the richest households usually
contain KIPPERS, which stands for Kids in Parents’ Pockets
Eroding Retirement Savings.
Of the households surveyed, 5% earn more than $200,000 per
annum while 11% earn less than $30,000 a year.
The richest households tend to comprise a middle-aged
couple with children in the late teens and early twenties, while
poorer households typically comprise university students or
Meanwhile, the most regular holidaymakers are those aged
25–29 and the 60-plus age bracket, with 15% of both groups
taking three or more holidays a year.
This is in contrast to 40-somethings, of which less than 5%
take three or more holidays a year.
While credit card usage, household
finances and holiday intentions
may vary, the one topic that almost
all respondents agree on is being
The survey reveals 91% of Australians use the internet, of
which 92% use email, followed by Facebook (69%), MSN (25%)
and Google (11%).
Another part of the survey shows the greatest uptake in dating
sites such as eHarmony is among 50-somethings, which could
reflect the higher divorce rate among those in their 40s.
According to Salt, start-ups should be aiming their offerings
at Generation Y or Baby Boomers, suggesting they steer clear of
“ T hese are the peak stress years associated with child
rearing: teenagers and heavy financial burdens appear,” he says.
“ T h is is also the time in life when people are least likely to
be happy in their relationship. Australians are most likely to
separate and divorce in their late 30s or early 40s.”
divide into two tribes
By Bernard Salt*
This article first appeared on StartupSmart.
*Bernard Salt is a leading commentator and advisor to corporate Australia on
consumer, cultural and demographic trends.
Salt, who recently released the book The Big Tilt: What Happens When the Boomers
Bust and Xers and Ys Inherit the Earth, says for business, one consequence of the ageing
population in the workforce will be demands for greater flexibility from senior staff, and
manual workers — such as truck drivers — being more susceptible to occupational health
and safety issues. www.bernardsalt.com.au
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