A Millward Brown survey has found alarming consumer sentiment toward discretionary spending.

The survey revealed 67% of Australians are being more careful or actively reducing their spending. Also, 53% of men were more likely to simply buy less, while only 37% of women considered this option. Women were more likely to maintain brand loyalty and wait for price promotions, with 52% describing this behaviour versus only 35% of men.

Less than a third of consumers are switching to cheaper brands or stores’ own brands.

Ben Dixon, managing director of Millward Brown Australia, said the survey illustrates the power of strong brands, as it demonstrates consumers would prefer to wait for their favourite brand to offer ‘specials’.

“Meat and Livestock Australia’s Sam Kekovich Australia Day executions perfectly illustrate the benefit of impactful creative. These ads deliver three times the punch of the average Australian advert and consequently triple the MLA’s effective media spend through great, memorable creative,” Dixon said.

Of the 33% of respondents not actively reducing their spending or being more careful, 30% say the economy has little impact on their spending. However, only 3% feel comfortable increasing their spending.

The GFC has impacted most households, irrespective of income with 71% of low income and 61% of middle income earners being more careful or reducing their spending. Of high income earners, 57% report the same.

Those in their forties were most likely to buy less and those in their thirties were most likely to buy their favourite brands but wait for price promotions. Under thirties were most likely to simply buy cheaper branded products.