Australia Now

Combining Census data with social research from McCrindle, we share five powerful insights on who the Australian customer is now – what they’re dealing with, what drives them and where they’re heading.

With 25.4 million respondents, representing a 96.1 per cent response rate, the 2021 Census is not just a study of demographics.

Drilling down into the data provides powerful information on who the Australian customer is now – what they’re dealing with, what drives them and where they’re heading.

In ‘Who is Australia Now?’, Mark McCrindle, social researcher and founder and Principal of McCrindle Research, shared the trends that can be read in the Census data, combined with his own research. In this session, Mark shared five key insights on the current Australian landscape and its future and how these impact your customer. 

Diversity is the norm

Cultural diversity was a stand-out theme from the census, with 2021 data reporting one in four Australians were born overseas the highest proportion ever recorded. Moreover, half of the population had one parent born overseas, and 25 per cent speak a language other than English at home.

Now, more than ever, communicators and marketers need to consider how their messages are being received, interpreted and understood by differing cultures within their audience. This means not only ensuring that language and imagery are appropriate for varying backgrounds, but how messages can be meaningfully conveyed in different cultural contexts. 

At a base level, brands need to think about communicating in more than one language, such as Mandarin, Arabic, Vietnamese, Cantonese and Punjabi.  

Mental health affect us all

For the first time in the history of the Census, information was collected on diagnosed long-term health conditions. While asthma was the leading health concern for young people, and arthritis for those 65 years old and over, mental health was the predominant health issue across all age groups. 

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, reports of mental and behavioural disorders have been steadily increasing since 2014, with 2.23 million Australians experiencing a mental health condition. With the continuing effects of Covid-19, as well as the mounting pressures of the threat of recession, global conflict and the climate crisis, it is no surprise that our mental health has taken a hit. 

In times such as these, products and apps that promote practical wellbeing strategies are more popular than ever, ranking second highest in the health app category in Australia. Globally, the mental health apps market was valued at USD $4.2 billion (AUD $6.2 billion) in 2021, and is expected to grow by 16.5 per cent by 2030.

Rockin’ the regions

With house and rental prices skyrocketing and flexible work arrangements now the norm, Australians are more regional than ever before. 

The Census reported that 8.5 million Aussies one in three — live outside a capital city, and 60 per cent have considered moving to a regional location. Fuelled by the pursuit of an aspirational lifestyle, 42 per cent of respondents were attracted to leaving the city while retaining a CBD-based job thanks to remote work options on offer.

This doesn’t mean we’ll see cities disappearing, but having a broader use and purpose; the CBD will transform to the CLD — the Central Lifestyle District. With a greater focus on residential development and social connection through events and festivals, CLDs will result in an improved out-of-work hours economy, which boosts the economy overall.

The transformation of work 

The pandemic brought about the biggest transformation of work in a century, and the conversation extends beyond the physical location of the office.

Despite the temptation among some organisations to return to business as usual, hybrid is here to stay. McCrindle reports that only 25 per cent of workers desire a return to the office, while 62 per cent prefer hybrid and 14 per cent want to work exclusively from home.  

While flexible working arrangements promote a greater work/life balance, 70 per cent say their workplace is the centrepoint of social connection. The future of the office, like the CBD, is a place for interaction, rather than productivity. 

Mark reports that, of the top five drivers for young people in the world of work, not one relates to traditional motivations of income, career progression or status. For this cohort, finding purpose is the number one priority, followed by aligning with their core values, providing social interaction, creating a positive impact and workplace flexibility. 

Clearly, the nature of work, and how we view it, has irrevocably changed. Work is no longer compartmentalised, but is part of the whole human experience, charged with providing meaning and connection. 

The children are our future — and the future is now

According to Mark, all eyes are on Generation Alpha (those born between 2010 and 2024), who will be the largest generation ever. Having experienced their formative years in the pandemic, and understanding the world through a digital lens, Generation Alpha have an entirely different perspective from those before them.

Though they do not yet have buying power, this group have something just as influential — pester power —  and its effects are already playing out in the market. Data shows that 80 per cent of parents have had their actions or consumption choices influenced by their environmentally-aware Gen Alpha children.

For a group that looks to websites (48 per cent) and TikTok (42 per cent) ahead of their parents (39 per cent) to learn a new skill, it may be surprising that Alphas are schooling mum and dad on climate impact.

However, seeing the world through a screen has taught this generation more than just viral dance moves —  their digital savvy allows them to consider their sources and look for multiple perspectives.

If you want to learn more about your customers, contact IMPACT to find out about our audience profiles.

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