Why Gen Z Aussies are different

*FILES* HAWAII, UNITED STATES - NCA NewsWire Photos - SEPTEMBER 21, 2022: General generic editorial stock image of Waikiki, Honolulu in Hawaii, United State of America. Australian budget airline Jetstar has apologised to its customers following a string of cancellations, leaving holidaymakers stranded, promising improvements ahead of the Christmas period. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Nicholas Eagar
Gen Z Australians like to save up to ‘splurge’ on once-in-a-lifetime moments. Picture: Nicholas Eagar / NCA NewsWire

Gen Z Australians are saving hard to splash out on “once-in-a-lifetime” moments as part of a generational move to make up for time lost to the pandemic, according to the latest consumer survey from one of Australia’s biggest banks.

NAB’s survey of 18-29 year-olds shows the cohort are more likely to “splurge” on big-ticket experiences like special holidays or epic concerts and will cut back hard on daily expenses to secure them.

The bank estimates young Australians have reduced their spends on restaurants, micro treats, entertainment and car journeys to squirrel away up to $403 a month or $4800 a year.

And NAB personal banking executive Kylie Young said the savings were not going into long-term investments designed to build up wealth over time.

“This group seems to be looking to make up for things they missed out on during the pandemic,” she said.

Taylor Swift
Gen Z Australians are saving hard to ‘splurge’ on memorable experiences like big pop concerts with Taylor Swift, according to NAB’s latest consumer sentiment survey. Picture: Josh Woning / AAP

“Call it revenge spending or investing in ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ moments, but the fact is they are taking advantage of every opportunity.

“Whether it’s a Taylor Swift or Robbie Williams concert or a Matildas match, younger Aussies are showing they are prepared to cut back on eating out, food delivery or micro treats to make ‘life moments’ happen.”

Younger Australians had the lowest increase in credit card transactions over the past 12 months compared with their older counterparts.

More than half of the 18-29 year old cohort surveyed also reported cutting back on food delivery services, saving them $92 per month on average.

The “intent to splurge” is particularly pronounced among young Australians, the bank’s report states, but nearly all households and age groups are rebalancing to meet cost-of-living pressures.

Though cost-of-living concerns have softened slightly, general sentiment is darkening as more Australians register a greater concern for job security, health, retirement and government policy.

The overall consumer stress index has risen 0.8 points from Q2 2023 to Q3, moving from 56.9 to 57.7.

“Though consumers are stretched (on balance, eight in 10 believe living costs increased further in Q3), many are growing more accustomed to these pressures and are having to make deliberate spending trade-offs in order to manage household balance sheets and support their lifestyle in their own way,” the report states.

“Consumers have been able to adapt because of the availability of jobs. Should employment fall sharply, we could see a significant adjustment in spending. There is a clear expectation that the cost of necessities (groceries, utilities, transport, rent and mortgages) will all continue to rise over the coming year.”