RETURN TO NORMALITY? A Pulse on AUS Consumer Normality

Aus Normality Index – Week 1

Posted 01 Apr 2020
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Week 1 Fielded 26 – 29 March 2020

AUSTRALIAN NORMALITY INDEX: Whilst we are starting to see the Australian rate of CV-19 infection flattening, we are most noticing the loss of freedom to move about normally in public and make future plans. These two behaviours represent 47% of what makes Australians feel normal. And right now, these two elements of our day to day life are feeling extraordinarily abnormal.

Forethought has launched the Australian Normality Index to observe how Australians are responding to the challenges they are now coping with, how they are adapting, and when we see their attitudes and behaviour return to normal.

Our aim is to support our clients in managing their marketing programs, so that they can use this information as a part of readying for the rebound.

The Australian Normality Index is a partner study to the Forethought USA Normality Index.

As the way we live our lives rapidly evolves in response to the challenges presented by the COVID-19 outbreak, Forethought will keep a pulse on Australian sentiment to provide a snapshot of how far removed we are becoming from behaviours consistent with our lives before the pandemic. Our ongoing pulse, the Normality Index, aims to provide our partners with the insight to identify when the Australian population will be most receptive and able to resume normal patterns of life, informing the development of tailored communications and strategy during and post-Coronavirus. This measure of ‘normality’ will be shared every Thursday, from our weekly poll of Australians. We thank our partner PureProfile for their support in conducting this research.

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Yet to emerge as significant:
Ability to go about your routine outside the home, ability of everyone to attend school/work as usual, ability to socialise with friends/family inside your home


When we think of ‘normal’, what springs to mind are things like our ability to go to school or work or to socialise with our friends and families. But what we’ve found is that our sense of normality is most impacted by the restriction on our basic freedoms which are core to our way of life. We’ll feel normal when we have our personal freedoms back – when we’re able to be out in public or to travel. It is this freedom of movement that will have the largest impact on our sense of normality. Closely followed by the ability to start making plans again – for weddings, funerals, anything.

WHAT’S NORMAL? Index numbers across indicators of normality
Index numbers across indicators of normality.

Thinking about life at present (including wider society), how normal do you feel the following aspects are?

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The aspect of daily life that is most abnormal is ability to fly domestically / internationally (-82%), which is unsurprising as Australia joins the rest of the world in closing its borders. However, confidence in the economy has been severely shaken, with sentiment sitting at 70% less normal than usual.


Compared to behaviours pre-pandemic, the greatest shifts appear to be a lift in those reviewing their finances and reduction of supermarket visitation.

In the next week, how likely are you to… (On a scale of 0 to 10, only highly likely 8-10 responses shown)

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More Australians will be reviewing their finances and seeking professional help than usual

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The social distancing message is cutting through, with a significant drop in intention to visit a supermarket. In a blow to the struggling hospitality industry, intentions to order takeaway meals remains stable.

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Notably, the proportion of those highly likely to stream their entertainment remains consistent with normal times, suggesting we were already streaming lots prior to the pandemic.

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Week 2 results available Thursday 9th April


Access the Nomality Index data below

Download Data