With the technology boom providing more ways than ever for people to occupy their free time, across Australia, consumers are looking to go back to basics and spend more time with their loved ones.

According to new research from global market intelligence agency Mintel, over half (51%) of metro consumers in Australia aspire to spend more time with their family over the coming year*, rising to 60% of metro Australians with three or more family members in the household. This makes spending more time with family the leading personal goal of today’s Australians.

While family time is important, so too is spending longer periods away from the office. Mintel research reveals that close to two in five (38%) Australians hope to achieve a better work-life balance in the coming year.

Leaving aside spending more time with family and achieving a better work-life balance, metro Australians wish to have healthier diets (48%), to exercise more (47%), and to get their household finances in order (43%) – rounding out Australian consumers’ list of the top five personal goals for the coming year.

Jane Barnett, Head of Insights, South APAC at Mintel, said:

“New technology has created inescapable levels of connectivity and exposure, and it seems Australians are losing touch with the physical world. Today’s fast-paced environment has resulted in Australians spending less time with their families – a social issue that they are now looking to tackle. Technology has revolutionised the way people live, and in many aspects, has played a major role in the speed up of life. Consumers’ heavy reliance on technology has caused a reduction in quality time spent with loved ones, even in the home environment. They are now looking to ‘switch off’ and have the chance to reconnect with the physical world.

Indeed, like many other parts of the world, Australia is home to a population of technology addicts. Over four in five (82%) metro Australians own a smartphone, while over half (56%) say they own a notepad or tablet PC. Females are seemingly heavier users of mobile technology in comparison to males, as 83% of metro Australian females own a smartphone, while 79% of males own the device. In addition, 59% of female Australians own a notepad or tablet PC, compared to 51% of males who claim the same.

With such high usage of technology, it seems consumers are looking to break away from their electronic devices and restore more mindfulness. As many as 41% of metro Australians believe that achieving a work-life balance is a top contributing factor for having a healthy mental state.

Reflecting a shift to more in-home entertainment and activities among Australian consumers, Mintel research reveals one in three (33%) metro Australians have spent less on leisure or entertainment activities, such as movies, clubs, concerts, or theatres, compared to a year ago**. What’s more, 31% of metro Australians say it is not a priority for them to go out more in the coming year*.

“There are opportunities for more initiatives that encourage consumers to put down their devices and interact with those around them, in order to help them feel like they are sharing quality time with their family. Today, brands are challenged to encourage interaction more effectively. Our research indicates that an ease of access to in-home entertainment could be a key contributor in supporting this. Brands need to look at how their products can fit into the in-home activity space, as well as bring a sense of connection. Products that can be shared across the family and brands with strong family heritage are perfectly aligned to play on this consumer need. For brands looking to cultivate a loyal community of consumers, it is important to remember that behind the device, the handle, the email address, or profile picture, there is a person – start with what matters most to them,” Jane concludes.

*From 2016 to 2017
**2016 compared to 2015

Press review copies of the report and interviews with Jane Barnett, Head of Insights, South APAC, are available on request from the press office.

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