ACP study: Australians want cheaper but not lower quality

A research study by ACP Magazines has found that 76% of Australian consumers are now more careful with their money post global financial crisis and have a new fondness for supermarket brands – but they are not prepared to sacrifice on quality when it comes to food and homes.

The announcement:

The Global Financial Crisis is still impacting the attitudes and lifestyles of Australians who have re-calibrated how they purchase, work and play.

New research from ACP Magazines and research company, The Seed – entitled How We Live: A Love Affair With Food and Homes – reveals a smarter, savvier Australian consumer who has found clever ways to manage in the new economic order without sacrificing quality.

The data also shows that, more than ever, the media, and magazines in particular, play an important role in helping consumers negotiate the changed environment.

The overwhelming majority of Australians (more than 80%) look to magazines for practical solutions for meals and to apply to their homes. They also believe that magazines have done the hard work of distilling the vast array of free information  available to them online and offer an edited version of the most important material.

The comprehensive and current insights into Australians’ relationships with their homes and food are being presented to ACP advertising clients tomorrow at the ‘Live House’ – a purpose-built house and garden for ACP Magazines’ 30 Days of Home, Food & Wine events at Sydney’s Hordern Pavilion.

The findings have profound implications for marketers seeking to tap into the new consciousness and priorities of Australian consumers.

Highlights include:

• A new austerity: 76% of Australians claim they are being more careful with money these
days, despite perceptions that Australia ‘got off lightly’ in the GFC
• An increasingly clever shopper class: 71% of Australians shop on the internet for cost savings, taking advantage of easy price comparisons and the new ‘deal of the day’ sites
such as Cudo and Jump on It
• A renewed focus on quality: 56% of shoppers won’t compromise quality for a good deal,
and 85% say they are always looking for the best value options
• A new affinity for supermarket home brands: 56% agree that home-brands provide quality that is just as good as branded products
• An increasingly information-hungry consumer: 87% look to magazines for practical solutions to apply in their homes, while 82% want magazines to provide practical meal solutions
How We Live: A Love Affair With Food and Homes also shows that Australians have dramatically re-evaluated their work/life balance and reassessed their priorities; they are open to working fewer hours, entertaining at home more often, spending more time on ‘free’ family activities, and increasingly embracing DIY and self-sufficient activities, such as growing their own vegetables.

Interestingly, while these trends are partly about saving money they also reflect consumers’ increasing interest in spending more quality time with family and close friends.

ACP Magazines Managing Director, Phil Scott, said: “ACP Magazines continues to invest heavily in research to ensure our titles deliver for readers and advertisers.

“How We Live: A Love Affair with Food and Homes provides a 360-degree view of the attitudes of consumers, reinforced by the views of experts in their fields and our own editors, to identify trends and changes in the lifestyle category and shed light on these developments.

“The insights are invaluable to our advertising clients and editors alike as we ensure our magazines remain the ‘go-to’ source for consumers in the new economic era.”

About the research

ACP Magazines and The Seed conducted research for How We Live: A Love Affair with Food and Homes over a six-week period spanning February-March, 2011. There were four phases:

• One: In-depth interviews with the editors and staff of Australian House & Garden, The Australian Women’s Weekly, Australian Good Food, Australian Gourmet Traveller,
Gourmet Traveller WINE, Coles Magazine, Belle, recipes+, real living and Burke’s Backyard to establish hypotheses
• Two: Quantitative research involving a comprehensive national online study of 1,207 Australians to identify trends and changes in the lifestyle category with statistically robust
• Three: Qualitative research among nine extended focus groups in Sydney and Melbourne, covering home and food across premium, mainstream and mass targets, to probe consumer attitudes in depth and determine driving influences behind behaviour and changes
• Four: Expert interviews with a selection of experts in the fields of home and food to discuss research findings and obtain the experts’ predictions, thereby shedding light on current and future trends in home, lifestyle and food How We Live: A Love Affair with Food and Homes builds on the findings of the initial How We Live survey conducted by ACP Magazines and The Seed in 2008, which provided an in-depth understanding of Australians and their homes at the time and a benchmark for comparisons with current attitudes.


  1. moogstar
    18 Apr 11
    2:33 pm

  2. Considering around half of the population are male, and another portion under 18, I find the ‘80% of Australians’ figure you have quoted from this study very hard to believe.

    Can this be verified?

  3. australian food shops
    18 Apr 11
    7:44 pm

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  5. John Grono
    22 Apr 11
    11:13 am

  6. Some facts to consider Moogstar (and Sean at The Seed, please feel free to jump in):
    * under AMSRS and ESOMAR rules there are lots of restrictions for conducting research on people under 14, and also restrictions for 14-18 year olds – so this research was probably based on People 18+.
    * your comment regarding males being half the population seems to allude to you believing that males don’t read magazines – there is a plethora of verified research from all around the world to show that they do (and given that in the last 6-month audit there were over 63m magazines purchased – not read, purchased – then one has to surmise that men are also magazine readers).
    * of course your comment could be suggesting that they don’t prepare meals (I wonder how all those single male households get their meals – sure take-away and eat-out may dominate but they DO cook sometimes!)
    * the statement refers to them as ‘they look to magazines for practical solutions for meals’ – this does not mean that they exclusively or even regularly do that … but just that they have at some stage flicked through a magazine and thought ‘yeah, I could easily cook that’.

    Given the above, the 80% claim feels about right. Now if it the research had said that they ‘regularly’ did this, then I would beginning to think Hmmmmmm.