Consumer‘s latest survey focuses on the cost of living, and 68 per cent of respondents said they were most worried about healthcare. Home ownership costs were close behind on 66 per cent.
Concern about water quality at beaches and rivers was also a pressing issue for 66 per cent, highlighted in a recent Herald investigation.
Renters said worries about owning a home were their biggest concern, together with worry about their level of savings and investments.
Consumer head of market research Vaibhav Kawale said renters are also feeling day-to-day financial pressures.
“Twenty-four per cent of consumers in our survey were finding it difficult to get by on their household income. But that figure jumped to 36 per cent among renters.”
Renters were also more likely to be cutting back on essentials such as power bills. Fifty per cent had reduced spending on essential services in the past 12 months, compared with the average of 34 per cent.
According to the survey, income had an influence on whether consumers rented or owned their own home but also on how they coped with everyday expenses.
Just over a third of consumers felt they were able to live “comfortably” on their household income. But among those earning more than $150,000, 76 per cent were comfortable.
Middle-income earners were less likely to feel like they were comfortably off.
“Among consumers earning $40,001 to $60,000, just under a quarter were living comfortably. In the $60,001 to $80,000 income bracket, 41 per cent were comfortable but the majority were either just getting by or finding it difficult to make ends meet,” Kawale said.
Income also influenced how consumers saw the economy. High-income earners were more likely to have a rosy view of the economy, according to the survey.
Of those earning more than $150,000, 71 per cent believed the econonmy was in good shape, compared with 54 per cent on average.
Older consumers were also more likely to look favourably at the economy, with nearly two-thirds saying it was in good shape.
“Consumers in this age group were significantly more likely to own their own home mortgage-free and be coping well with day-to-day living costs,” Kawale said.