SYDNEY: Many shoppers in Australia are adapting their spending habits, with online a particular beneficiary of changing behaviour in the country.

Essential Media Communications surveyed 1,047 adults in the country to gauge current attitudes when it comes to making purchases, and found that 60% of the panel had seen food and grocery expenditure levels rise over the last 12 months.

Some 20% of interviewees stated their outlay in this area had gone up "a lot".

The resources taken by gas and electricity bills had also grown for 70% of those polled, and 36% of the individuals questioned revealed this increase was significant.

On discussing entertainment pastimes such as out of home dining or watching films at the cinema, a modest 20% of the sample had witnessed a rise in their outgoings.

This exactly matched the score recorded by retail products like clothing and electrical goods, suggesting that essential purchases have assumed greater importance than discretionary ones.

Online is also playing a central role in shaping habits, as 42% of consumers were shopping more regularly on the web, whereas just 8% had reduced their activity.

By contrast, only 10% of people were making more visits to major retailers, and 36% had registered a decline. These figures stood at 11% and 20% in turn for large shopping centres.

In assessing the range of products provided by big retailers, 55% of the survey community agreed they were satisfied with the items available, and 46% were positive about the quality of goods sold.

These firms' standards of service scored less impressively, logging a relatively limited 31%, while the prices offered by Australia's premier chains posted 30%.

Elsewhere, the study found that 28% of respondents are now saving more, 33% have adopted the opposite approach.

Within this, 41% of participants from the 18–34 year old demographic were attempting to increase the amount of money they saved, falling to 19% among contributors aged 55 years old and above.

Data sourced from B&T/Essential Media Communications; additional content by Warc staff