Are Australians worried about rising bills?
If you were asked what your biggest concern is over the next six months, what would it be? If rising household costs are on your mind then you're not alone, as more than a third of Australians are thinking the same.
Research from Nielsen shows utility bill anxieties are higher in Australia than any other country, as 34 per cent of respondents named this as their primary or secondary concern.
This marks a significant rise from the 29 per cent recorded in the second quarter of last year.
Consumer confidence takes a hit
As electricity and gas prices increase, it's hardly surprising that consumer confidence is in decline.
Nielsen found that confidence levels have fallen four points from the record low of 89 recorded during the first quarter of the year. It's the fourth month in a row that a quarterly fall has been registered and is the lowest score since the index started back in 2005.
Nielsen's Head of Demand Strategy Greg Dring said: "Over the past 12 months, consumption expenditure has increased at an average of 5.1 per cent and retail sales growth, a subset of final consumption expenditure, has also accelerated."
Other major concerns
Aside from rising utility prices, Australian consumers are also worried about other aspects of their lives.
Nielsen found that just a third of people are hopeful about their job prospects, making it the lowest recorded level since 2009.
Other sources of worry included personal finances, which 48 per cent of respondents said were in an "ominous" state. This marks a rise of nine percentage points compared to the June quarter of last year.
Meanwhile, just 37 per cent of respondents said they were optimistic in their intentions to buy, which once again signals declining levels of confidence.
Tackling rising prices head on
It's unlikely that electricity and gas prices are going to fall anytime soon, which is why customers' fate is in their own hands.
Assessing the market and choosing tariffs that are best suited to your individual needs is the best place to start - there's little point in paying over the odds for a product you can get cheaper elsewhere.
Taking a closer look at your energy consumption is a good place to start, as this will give you an idea of how much you're paying at the moment and whether there's a comparative deal to be found elsewhere.
Posted by Jeremy Elliott