Telum Webinar Recap: The Cost of Living Crisis

Australians are currently experiencing consecutive rate rises, the highest inflation rate in decades, and an increase in demand to save and earn more. The rising cost of living has been the main concern for families, pensioners, young people and everyone in between.

Telum Media's ANZ Region Head, John Bergin, discussed the cost of living crisis with Editor-at-Large of Canstar, Effie Zahos in an exclusive webinar on Friday 11th November 2022. Effie is a personal finance commentator who appears daily on the TODAY show and sits on the board of directors for Ecstra.

Rising cost of living - inflation
Effie stated that we all experience different burdens when it comes to expenses, with inflation peaking at 7.7 per cent in September and no wage growth according to recent reports. With more people relying on their super funds in order to provide and get by, the household budget is taken into account and becomes a new priority, including sourcing discounts on various goods and services.

Findings, trends and points on consumers
In the past six months, Effie has witnessed a transition from investing in exchange traded funds to stories on savings, term deposits, the best saving accounts, disaster payments for floods, superannuation, and budgeting apps. This may be because people are motivated to earn and save more. In April "cost of living" searches peaked to 9,000. Travel, grocery and Christmas spending remain high due to behavioural spending. 

Effie highlighted the danger of "tap n go" behaviour as a real concern depending on how it may influence particular consumers. Despite the product being clever, it does not mark the end of its innovation. Buy now, pay later services has become more relevant and widely used, and neither will disappear anytime soon. She continued, although these products are not new, Australian's are incredibly savvy and there is more demand for journalists to find what is new, what is fresh, and how it can help consumers.

Key discussion takeaways for PR professionals:
The important thing for media and PR professionals is keeping things real, simple, and tangible for consumers. 
  • Be clear. What is the main headline? Is it embargoed Does the press release requires urgent attention? 
  • Get on the phone after sending it out to discuss and clarify anything necessary. 
  • Look for what's not out there at the moment - it doesn't always have to be budgeting.
  • Figure out the economic context through the angle and message. 
  • Answer these questions: What is it? How special and important is it? What is this going to do? (Is it going to make me money? Save me money?)

Looking ahead to 2023, what can people expect?
Effie highlighted the following key points:
  • Expect more rate rises and rate cuts.
  • Energy prices will increase. The October budget predicted 50 per cent increase within the next two years. 
  • Entering the new year, people need hope but there will be challenges to overcome before some positive stories emerge.

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