Tony skinner 00:02
Hi, and welcome to the podcast for podcastmybusiness.com.au and we welcome back Lisa Lewers from lewers.com.au. that’s le w ers with the latest consumer and business research. How are you, Lisa?
Lisa Lewers 00:20
I’m really well Tony, how you going?
Tony skinner 00:23
I am awesome. We’re in different states. You’re in Melbourne, I’m in Sydney. And we all know where we all the traveling. You know, I now when I go out for coffee, I don’t ask the coffee shop how they’re doing I answer for them. I go look, you know what? I’m gonna ask you. Let’s just say you’re doing as well as expected. And they go Yep, that’s about right.
That’s about right. Yeah. I don’t think that they’re alone in that. And it’s been you know, one of the nice things, I think some Since we’re all in it together and doing the best that we can one day at a time.
Tony skinner 01:06
Yeah, that’s exactly right. And I mean, that certainly will show up in your research as confidence can get hit and go up and down. But so what are the trends like at the moment?
Yeah. So, obviously, you and I are having quite different experiences being in two different states. But you know, the latest piece of work we did was, just as Victoria went into its second stage lockdown. Prior to stage four restrictions, we’ll have an update on stage four shortly. So you know, I think the as a general consumer sentiment, the issue with that was that in the first lockdown, we all thought, you know, we can do this, we can all in it together, we’ll knock it down. We’ll get through four weeks, the government will support us financially. And we’ll come out the other end and it’ll seem like a dream and the issue that we’ve seen now with this second wave in Victoria is if you’re not a Victorian, it suddenly has made people feel a little uneasy around when this might actually end. And it’s meant that it’s just become a little bit harder to plan. There’s no definite end in sight. And so there’s more of a adaptability happening around how do we just take it one day at a time and do the best that we can do? Knowing that it’s not going to be optimal, but it’s not optimal for anybody, and there’s some positive things around that. And some negatives, of course.
Tony skinner 02:38
Well, let’s have a chat about some of the positives.
Yeah, so we’re starting to see and, you know, from from a general consumer perspective, there’s certainly a sense a greater sense of community, a greater sense of wanting to support local and local economies and people are really responding to that and you know, people are looking for silver linings in. I spend more time with my family and all of those sorts of things. And from a business perspective, it’s very subtle. But we’re starting to see a little bit of a turnaround in how businesses are thinking.
So, way back in April, we did a bit of a dip for small businesses and ask them some hit key questions around hiring and how they felt, you know, were they in trouble or not no sorts of things.
As an example, back in April, we had 56% of businesses saying this is not the time to be hiring new staff. And in the last round of research that we did, which was timed for the second week of July, so just as we’re going into that second lockdown, that figure reduce, so now 41% are saying it’s not the time to be hiring new staff so people, businesses are starting to think a little bit more around how they’re going to come out of this.
And expecting that they will be able to put on new people and rebuild out of the back. And in fact, we’ve found that there was a slight increase of 5% of the proportion of businesses that were actually hiring new staff. So there’s a bit of a turnaround in those kinds of numbers. Definitely job keeper helped with that. So we’ve got 21% of businesses saying that having job keeper meant that they could keep their staff employed. And, definitely a trend towards looking to hire new people as we start to come out of this.
Sadly, I you know, the economic circumstance is such that there are a proportion of businesses we’ve got 15% who feel their business has little chance of remaining open after the crisis, but didn’t that number, as horrible as it That is, if you wanted to 15% it’s not you know, given the breadth and inequality of the impact of this pandemic. And it’s not as bigger number as perhaps we might have expected. And again, that’s perception of what small business owners are saying. So there’s a general feeling of optimism that by hook or by crook, definetly coming out the other end.
Tony skinner 05:19
And I think that’s, that’s exactly what we’re, you know, your fingers indicate you’re talking about more businesses are looking at hiring than less, which is great. Yeah. 15% don’t expect to come out but 85% expect to and exactly 15% is that like sole traders or is that the very, very small end without much?
It’s a mix, of its small businesses. So typically, up to 20 or so employees. So the micro business, the cafes, and you know, smaller businesses, generally
Tony skinner 06:01
Yeah, look, I mean, the reality is a tough time. Well, okay, let’s nip it back a bit. It’s we’re starting to be an extremely tough time for retail even before Coronavirus hits. And I’ve read plenty of stuff where it’s sped up. I remember talking to people I’m looking at what online shopping isn’t that huge in Australia yet? It’ll take years and years and years to get there. But now it’s all that up five years worth of growth in five months.
Really interesting. And, and there’s, there’s a lot out there that is saying basically, what the pandemic has done is speed up anything that was already happening. So from a technology adoption perspective, if you’ve if you had a business that already had issues, and it’s probably exacerbated those issues, if your business was strong going in, you’re probably better positioned to manage going out, but definitely, we’ve seen some interruptions in terms of trends and one of the Really interesting things is people don’t like change, this change has been forced upon them. And being human, they’ve adapted. And the longer that this goes on, the more entrenched those new habits get, like on buy online shopping, for example. And we’ve certainly seen a big peak in online shopping. But typically also wanting to source online product within Australia because it’s safer, faster, and supporting the local economies. And initially, again, we thought, you know, four weeks, everything, it’ll be a blip and everything will go back to normal, but some of these new behaviors are going to be embedded. And I think also, people are thinking now, even when restrictions come off, do they really want to be out and about more than they need to be? until, you know, there’s a vaccine and we’re all safe. So there’s a different expectation also around businesses to keep people safe and be doing the right things.
Tony skinner 07:56
Yeah, it’s interesting I’ve seen in my local area that It’s busier during the day than it was before. And I work in North Sydney and like North Sydney has always been fairly quiet without office workers and it’s turned back into a ghost town. And I guess most CBD even without restrictions are like that. So lots of gravitation back to small local businesses in the local area.
Yeah. And that is also consistent with that whole sense of community. And so it’s I think it’s going to take a little while for these behaviors to unravel if they ever do unravel and go back to normal. And, you know, we’ve seen support for the the the kinds of things that governments are putting in place, you know, if you’re in Victoria, you wear a mask and people support those sorts of things. People are happy to take the heat, if they know that there’s going to be an outcome and staying close to home helps with that.
Tony skinner 08:57
Yeah, and of course, they’re forced to stay closer to home. as well so, um, you know, I’ve got clients in Melbourne and luckily they’re in industries that haven’t been hit that massively like they do emergency shutter repairs and things like that. So that’s, you know, an essential service that families and everybody else but yeah, one of one of this one.
Yeah, I was just about to say one of the things we found is, you know, this is just affected people. So very, very differently, both economically job wise, family wise, you know, if you are someone who’s become unemployed, and now as a homeschooling children, your life looks very, very different to what it did five months ago. Whereas we’ve seen other people are just going about business as usual. In that they’re in an essential service.
They’re pretty much doing what they’ve always done, particularly if they don’t have children at home and they’re not doing the homeschooling I say For some fine and certainly by state that’s playing out differently now as well. And so, you know, this sort of high level of concern. And while not many people have been directly impacted by COVID.
From I know somebody who’s got it, a fair proportion of the population being 85% as 83% are still really very concerned around the impact of coronavirus for Australia, and both economically and from a health perspective. But having said that, to my point earlier, 43% of people are telling us, you know, going about my business as usual, whereas we’ve got 29 who are in isolation, and another 22 working from home. So, very, very different experiences. And one of the other things we asked is, you know, what, what precautionary things you Doing so obviously, people are still embracing hand washing. And I find this really interesting.
You’ve got 76% of people saying, Oh, I’m washing my hands more often. The flip side to that is this 24% of people who aren’t geting the messages. The messages don’t always still get through hand sanitizer. 67% of people are using them, but you know, there’s a fair whack of people or third or you know, who are not.
And people are definitely stocking up on additional food and, you know, again, the media can take it out of whack and definitely there’s been some hoarding and those kind of bass behaviors coming through but a quarter of people saying, Yeah, I’m definitely buying more, I’ve bought more fruit and vegetables, food and essential items, I’m buying more for my freezer. And those things haven’t really changed over the periods of the pandemic.
You know, and even with physical contact 78% of people are avoiding handshaking again.
That means that there’s 22% of people who are still shaking hands.
And that’s a little bit of a reflection of again, you know, if you’re not feeling directly impacted, you’re not feeling as much as you that you should comply. Even though you agree it’s a good idea. It’s hard to kind of remember and definitely we’re seeing that people are finding it harder to comply, the longer this goes on.
Tony skinner 12:24
Right, so I’m curious about that one, because I saw some vision a little while ago. Is this something that can be researched, as in the community and different communities and coming from overseas and things like that? Is that something that’s researchable or is that relevant or is that not relevant? So in terms of attitudes, attitudes towards towards this.
And really interesting so and some state variations but to give you an idea of the how seriously some Australians feel about this.
We’ve got, for example, 65% of people saying people who continually breach COVID-19 restrictions should go to jail. And so they want people to be doing the right things.
People who refuse 73% of Australians are saying, If you refuse to get tested in your in a hotspot, you’ll automatically should have to go to quarantine. And they’re okay with fining. And interestingly, though, in Victoria, where those things are kind of happening reasonably regularly now, they’re less likely to agree with those penalties because it’s real for them. So conceptually, people don’t have a problem with the penalty, but when it comes closer to home, people start to feel a bit more uncomfortable.
Tony skinner 13:55
Yeah, you can penalize my neighbor but not me for doing this.
Not me. Yeah. Because and And this is part of the problem with this because everyone thinks, well, if I just do it won’t matter. I’m just one and then all the ones don’t do it. And we don’t quite get the result that we’re after.
And the interesting thing was because we saw sorry Tony we saw in in Victoria they bought in their defence force, and two thirds Victorians bought 70% almost believed that was the right thing to do.
Tony skinner 14:25
I remember that old way of learning, maths is one on one equals two and two and two equals four, and four and four equals eight. And that’s what the virus is like.
Yes, But viruses a little bit multiplicative, really.
Tony skinner 14:43
Yeah, yeah. Now, I’m just curious. Why is there such a lack of compliance that appears in Victoria and mobile than other capital cities?
Oh, I don’t know if it’s absolutely a lack of compliance. I mean, there’s, they’re less comfortable with the idea of it, but they’re still doing it. And I think in Victoria, we’re just sort of further down the line in terms of levels of intolerance. So we’re just finding catching more people out, I think, because we’re in a more serious spot. Whereas, you know, if you’re in Queensland, I have a quite a lot of family in Queensland life, almost back to normal. And so, you know, there’s no need for them to have the tolerance.
Tony skinner 15:38
Yeah, and I think that’s true. Again, here in Sydney. Yes, we went through the lockdown. 1.0, shall we say? Yes. And they still got all we need to lock down. And because we’ve got, I mean, today, there was I think it’s like 15 cases of 14 cases and luckily, our Contact tracers, tracing peopleall of those people know exactly what’s happening and what’s going on. And I guess we know about that. Yes, we expect that to grow and whatever, so prepared for people still screaming lockdown. And I think you get, it’s like what was a fatigue? charity fatigue i think we should call it Lockdown fatigue,
we are getting locked down fatigue. And, you know, potentially looking for ways to push the system. But I think for Victorians, they’re probably very worried about what will happen if we don’t get out of this one and everything’s okay. You know, and the premier has made it quite clear, you know, he doesn’t want this to go on till Christmas. Everyone wants to be able to see their family for Christmas lunch. So that’s, I think it’s starting to pinch and people are taking it on. But there definitely is a degree of fatigue and I even notice it, you know, in my own team, the first time around was a bit novel and we were all happy watching Netflix. You know? second time around, you kind of getting a bit over it. you’ve enjoyed everything you want to binge watch. There’s less entertainment, there’s less novelty. And, you know, you’re seeing other other states kind of skating free on it.
But the interesting thing as well is it fascinates me the way people think we don’t have a lot of infections. So, you know, we don’t need to knock down. No, you need to lock down so that you don’t get the infections. I think Victoria, that issue is really been in the aged care as well. And once it’s gone into that kind of system, it makes it very difficult.
Tony skinner 17:37
Yeah, absolutely. Well, I’m quite happy to send you some photos of me at Bondi Beach if you like, oh, bondi or manly where would you prefer?
Oh, actually, that’s a really big toss up i like both of those locations. And that kind of unfortunately for me, my sister lives within about 100 meters of a very beautiful beach in Queensland. So you Every time I have a zoom call with her, she’s got it up on our background. So it’s a nice reminder of what we’re not getting.
Tony skinner 18:07
Yeah, exactly. Well, you know, okay, so we’ve got some new research coming up. So we’ll see what the latest is soon as well.
Yeah, absolutely. Looking forward to it.
Tony skinner 18:19
Excellent. Great. Okay. Thanks very much. Lisa. Is there anything else you wanted to share?
Not at this point. I look forward to giving you my next update.
Tony skinner 18:28
Fantastic. And I’ll send you some photos.
Thank you. All right. Thanks. Bye now.