Australian Normality Index – February 2021
Forethought launched the Normality Index (NI) immediately as we went into lockdown in March 2020. We now have 19 waves of data (weekly for the first 12 weeks and now monthly since July). Here are the key findings from our February pulse.
SOME DISPARITY ON NORMALITY:
After the pre-Christmas high, with most states approaching parity on normality was slowed as intermittent lockdowns and some restrictions were reinstated across the nation. In WA, their first case in nearly 10 months saw the state enter lockdown, while outbreaks in NSW and VIC too sent into circuit breaker lockdowns.
With quick and decisive actions in NSW, feelings of Normality recovered well, while WA and SA trended down, marginally behind NSW. VIC lagged behind other states in feelings of normality, after stage four restrictions were in place and continued issues with hotel quarantine measures, heightened by scrutiny over The Australian Open.
ENJOYING THE NEW NORMAL:
While there is still an acknowledgement that life was unlikely to return to normal, there was a significant increase in feelings that life is better than last year. Some of the most notable inclusions for aspects of life that Australians enjoyed as part of their new normal was spending time with loved ones and saving money. As many Australians are cautious and uncertain to make plans for holidays and travel, there was an increased focus for many to assess finances and keep closer to home- given the sudden border closures and restrictions.
COVID-19 has disrupted lives by revolutionising how we live, with zoom weddings, birthdays and Christmas a new experience. With the intermittent border closures and varying state restrictions left many feeling like a yo-yo, as any planning was near impossible to achieve. There is the heightened desire to resume some sense of normal as the key driver of normality was the “Ability to make future plans” (17%). Many are looking forward to having the ability to make plans such as holidays or enjoy gatherings like weddings, that will make us all feel life is more ‘normal’.