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TREND 1: Big Australia
dotted with popular new enterprises, including creative food
Having doubled since 1966, this rise is fuelled by an increase
kiosks usually associated with New York or Los Angeles.
in birth rate, life expectancy and migration. These factors have
allowed Australia to grow at a rate of 1.6% per year, above
With Australia’s increasing population also comes
the world average of 1.1%. Not only is Australia the fastest
greater influence in the global arena. As our
growing OECD nation, but its population is increasing faster
economy maintains stability, Australia is a
than Indonesia, India, and Malaysia.
key place to invest and foster
AT 23 MILLION
This presents challenges and opportunities for Australians.
A larger population can place greater strain on our
infrastructure, increase our environmental impact, and create
Australia’s biggest city:
Cities between 4 - 5m
a new level of social complexity. These potential problems can
make the prospect of a ‘Big Australia’ daunting for many.
European biggest city:
The diversity that comes with population growth presents
many benefits for Australians. We are spoilt for choice in
USA’s biggest city:
where we shop, in what we eat, in who we interact with.
Our social identity is enriched and enlivened, and in turn our
Asia biggest city:
quality of life improves.
China’s biggest city
The vibrant urban cultures of Australia’s big cities, such as
Sydney and Melbourne illustrate the positive effects that a
large, diverse population can bring. These “global” cities
Australia’s annual population growth rate:
boast a wide range of cafes, restaurants, performance venues
China’s annual population growth rate:
and cultural attractions. The cities’ streets are becoming
TREND 2: TWEEN TOWN
Tweens are greatly influenced by celebrities.
and adolescence. They are the children of Generation X.
The Olsen twins were pioneers in catering
Tweens have emerged as their own demographic, and
are now seen as brand influencers, a consumer segment,
and a target market.
Since then, personalities including Taylor Swift
and Justin Bieber have developed
In the past, tween girls have been the predominant focus
sophisticated methods of connecting with
for media and marketers. However, we are now seeing
tweens, hosting their own e-stores that
an array of products targeting tween boys. Focusing on
sell fashion and cosmetic items to
this demographic is surprisingly lucrative. Despite their
this age group.
lack of income, Australian tweens are a one billion dollar
consumer force: the average 8 year-old receives $10.68
The relatively new world of
in pocket money a week, increasing to $21.36 for the
‘tweendom’ is evidence of
average 12 year-old.
the up-ageing of today’s
Social media has been integral to the development
These young people have
of tween identity. Many tweens are actively engaging
access to more technology,
on sites, uploading their own YouTube videos and
information, and external influences
connecting with friends on Facebook. Many websites are
than any generation before them.
targeted specifically at this demographic. Tweens can
create virtual pets, play dress-ups, and interact with other
people their age online.
Numbers of 8-12 year olds: 1,387,130 (larger than the city of Adelaide [1.2m])
Number of 6-12 year olds: 1,949,443 (more people than thestate of
South Australia [1.67m])
Today’s tweens – Gen Z, are the children of Gen X.
They are the first generation who are wholly born and raised in the 21st Century.
They are the most global connected, tech savvy, materially endowed, and formally
educated generation ever.
Pocket Money $10.68 - $21.36 per week which equates to a total of $1.08 billion
for Australian tweens per year.
Gone are the days of Australian students earning
entrepreneurial generation. They are responsive
preneurs’ may also use their university connections
their money from paper runs. As one of the top
to global trends and innovative ways to increase
to further market and distribute their products or
countries for years spent in education, Australia’s
profits. ‘Student-preneurs’ are more likely than
students are looking for creative ways to use their
other demographics to use the internet as a way to
skills and make a profit where study prevents them
develop, market, and sell their businesses. ‘Student-
As Australia’s students spend longer in tertiary
from full-time employment.
preneurship’ begins the journey of what will be an
education, this emerging trend is one way in
ongoing reality for many of today’s students that
which younger generations are employing their
This generation is not interested in jobs that do not
they will be self-employed at some point.
technological savvy to great effect, as a means
serve their future career paths. Many work part-time
to financially support themselves and express
in the retail, service and technology sectors. As
Universities themselves have a significant role
Gen Ys and Zs, today’s students are technological
to play in aiding ‘student-preneurs’. Students
natives. Always connected via social networking
intentionally use the knowledge and skills gained
and other online media, this generation of students
from their degrees in their business ventures.
now has the means to start up businesses from their
Universities are responding to this, developing small
business courses and entrepreneurial education
programs. Recently, some universities have held
Contrary to Australia’s traditionally risk-averse
entrepreneurship competitions with cash prizes to
culture, our university students are part of a heavily
help business plans get off the ground. ‘Student-
2,132,412 – trading business Australia of which 1,305,024 don’t
have any employees. That’s 61% of all businesses.
Almost 1 in 3 (29%) Australian businesses have revenue of less
than 50K per year.
54% of businesses that began 4 years ago are no longer operating,
but this does not mean they all failed: for student-preneurs, these
businesses were only designed to last through their university years,
and offer some earnings, and some experience.
Australians are shopping ‘smarter’ than ever before. Strategies to save money
TREND 4: Smart Shopper
or secure a bargain are a common part of today’s consumer culture. Puchasing
non-mainstream brands and getting discounts for goods and services is no longer
“cheap” shopping, but “smart” shopping.
Discount sites such as GroupOn and Spreets have experienced a spike in popularity,
owing in part to an unstable global market following the economic down-turn.
Consumers are turning to store brands or ‘private label’ brands, which now fill the
shelves of our supermarkets. Bulk buying is also on the rise, and supermarkets have
responded to this trend with basic goods now available in larger units, and wholesale
warehouses like Costco having gained popularity.
Smartphones are becoming an indispensible tool for the smart shopper. Traditional
stores must now not only contend with the growth of online shopping, but with
consumers comparing prices, checking reviews and consulting with friends and
family on-line, all while browsing a store’s aisles. Australians are actively using their
smartphones and tablets in these “showrooming” activities to save money.
Generation Y exemplifies this trend: 46% have used their device in-store to enter
model numbers or compare prices, 31% have used a scanner or barcode app to
compare prices with other stores; and 48% have taken a photo of a product to
compare with online stores. Just over 2 in 5 have accessed consumer blogs or online
discussions while shopping, and 3 in 5 have taken a photo of a product to get a
second opinion from friends or family.
Smart shopping is a trend that shows no signs of slowing any time soon!
TREND 5: LOCALISATION
owners who are able to provide personal advice
strip, and investing into their local businesses.
and source goods to meet their customers’ needs.
Australia has also seen a growing number of farmers’
This resurgence is partly due to re-investment by owners,
and street markets, where consumers are able to
local councils and government policies to counteract
connect directly with producers.
the effects of urban sprawl of our major cities. The
convenience, expression of local culture, personal
In this era of resurgent communities, there has been a
connections and open-air environment provided by local
change to shopping habits, and growth in the more regular
shops hold lasting appeal.
“top-up” shop compared to the once-a-week “trolley-fill”
shop. The local stores are the preferred option for the
These are qualities that the expanding online retail sector,
quick and frequent top-up shop.
large chains and shopping centres are unable to duplicate.
Local shops are also responding to Australia’s ‘smart
The local shopping strip offers products and services
shopping’ trend, providing vouchers and discounts via
that invest directly back into the local community, and
online sites like GroupOn.
contributes to a sense of identity and belonging for its
Shopping locally is a social experience. Shopping strips
not only offer local cafes, take-away food, fresh groceries,
and bakeries, but also hairdressers, tax accountants,
doctors, pharmacy and clothing stores. Such diversity
and specialisation provides a vibrant community space for
local residents, and fosters a sense of belonging.
Many Australians see the value of investing into the local
community, and appreciate the relationships that are built
with other community members, as well as business
TREND 6: XYZ SCHOOLS
Retaining new teachers is a challenge when they have
ever-advancing technology and social media. The
a multi-career outlook.The average Gen Yer works
education sector is responding to this by tailoring
for only 3 years per employer. New methods of
curriculums and classroom strategies to address the
engagement need to be developed to ensure
challenges and opportunities presented by this shift.
that this emerging generation of educators
gain career experience and growing
The emphasis on project-based assessments and
in their skills.
increased ‘real-world’ connections are evidence of
Australia carrying its education systems into the 21st
Education for Gen Z is about social
century. Collaboration is highly encouraged, and
connection, collaboration, ease of
schools have prioritised communication skills as a major
access and real-world applications.
Schools are experimenting with
school times, and relying more
Today’s school communities are comprised of Gen X
on interactive social media
parents, Gen Y teachers and Gen Z students. Gen X
technology and flexible
parents were shaped at the start of the computer era,
and while generally not highly technologically savvy,
they are keen to see their children absorb the ever-
Australia’s schools are
increasing world of technology while also seeing them
demonstrating a trend towards
grow in literacy, numeracy and social skills.
replicating elements of our ever-
connected social lifestyles in
The challenge for schools is to attract and retain
curriculums and teaching
Generation Y teachers and staff members. In a sector
methods, so that education is
with an ageing workforce, and with record numbers of
congruent with 21st century life,
school age students in our population, the demand for
rather than a step back in time.
these emerging teachers is higher than ever.
Social relationships are timeless and integral to the formation of community.
TREND 7: Real World Relational
demonstrated. Emerging generations have been socially networking since
They have a bearing on our behaviours, attitudes and emotions. New social
their pre-teens, from instant messaging, to Myspace, Facebook, and Twitter.
media has expanded and altered the way we relate, and has made the world
Smartphones have added further flexibility, so that these generations are
seem much smaller. Connecting with others online is quick and simple, but
constantly connecting with current trends and issues.
comes with its drawbacks. Online interaction can deprive us of ‘real-world’
connections and foster increased interactions yet reduced friendships.
New platforms are being used to galvanise people into action or interaction,
whether it be to unite for a political cause or to form a flash mob, or to create
In contrast to traditional identity markers of culture, gender and place,
an interest group. Online social media allows for greater breadth of connection,
our online social identities are defined by our lifestyle choices and media
used as a tool to assist our deeper ‘real-world’ interactions.
consumption. We are able to interact with people irrespective of location.
In turn, our interaction with others online is tempered by scepticism, as it is
relatively simple for anyone to create a false or misleading identity.
Australians are now responding to our reliance on our online social world,
seeking more real-world interactions. Online technology is used as a tool to
facilitate these relationships. In the business world, we’re seeing face-to-face
meetings instead of just webinars or video-conferencing.
New technologies are responding to our desire for real-world connection
by ‘augmenting reality’. The barriers between the online and the real-world
are breaking down. Shops are encouraging consumers to interact via social
media on their smartphones while in-store. Interaction by users can ‘enhance’
advertisements and encourage participation. These new technologies connect
the limitless online realm with our tangible, every-day lives.
YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and the like are enabling a new kind of activism,
where information can be spread to an entire movement of people by
simply posting a status or uploading a video, as the ‘Occupy’ movements
McCrindle Research is one of the Asia Pacific region’s most renowned research agencies,
commissioned by government and commercial organisations to conduct demographic, market, social and generational research
to help them observe the changing times, understand the emerging trends, and strategically respond to the shifts.