Opinion economy driving where young Aussies splash the cash

13 September 2019

The emergence of an 'opinion economy' has spurred a seismic shift in the impact of online reviews on Australians, sounding a warning for businesses in today's digital age.

A Bankwest survey of Australia's largest population hubs – NSW and VIC – found online reviews were dictating more than ever where young people were choosing to spend their money.

The shift was most evident around accommodation reviews, with half of all Gen Y respondents relying heavily on the opinions of others when booking Airbnb (53.2%) and hotel (52.1%) stays.

That majority was in stark contrast to Gen X (35.5%, 33.5%) and Baby Boomers (38.4%, 25.9%), whose spending decisions were far less influenced by online reviews.

The data also showed young Australians' reliance on digital reviews was on the rise, with a third having increased their use of opinions on apps (31.6%), Facebook (31.6%) and Google (37.4%).

The findings highlighted the extent to which the opinion economy had become a driving force behind the real economy, influencing decisions around where young Australians spent cash.

Bankwest Executive General Manager, Customer Solutions & Insights Pieter Vorster said: "When we think about digital disruption, we generally think about the likes of Spotify and Uber.

"This research shines a light on how our behaviours are influenced in today's digital age, which has made the opinions and judgements of others far more prevalent, accessible and influential.

"We can all relate to the temptation of checking our smart phone to have a quick look at the reviews and ratings of others when we're planning to spend some of our hard-earned money.

"The opinions of people we don't know, who we might never meet, are now having an increasingly significant impact on how and where we spend, thanks to new technologies.

"This has ramifications for all organisations, but as a banking business, the opinions of our customers and how strongly they recommend and rate us is increasingly important.

"This shift in expectation from service to experience requires all businesses to listen more than ever to customers, to better understand their pain-points and needs in order to address them."

 

Survey findings

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How important to you are customer reviews when considering Airbnb accommodation?
  Gen Y (%) Gen X (%) Baby Boomers (%) Overall (%)
Very important 53.2 35.5 38.4 46.3
Somewhat important 41.5 48.5 45.7 43.9
Not important at all 5.3 16.0 15.9 9.8
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How important to you are customer reviews when considering hotel accommodation?
  Gen Y (%) Gen X (%) Baby Boomers (%) Overall (%)
Very important 52.1 33.5 25.9 40.6
Somewhat important 42.3 50.6 54.6 47.6
Not important at all 5.6 15.9 19.5 11.8
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How has the way in which you use customers reviews in apps changed?
  Gen Y (%) Gen X (%) Baby Boomers (%) Overall (%)
Use them more than I used to 31.6 23.2 21.2 26.8
Use them the same as I always have 38.0 35.8 30.4 35.5
Use them less than I used to 12.7 5.5 7.3 9.5
Don't use them at all 17.7 35.4 41.2 28.3
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How has the way in which you use customers reviews in Facebook changed?
  Gen Y (%) Gen X (%) Baby Boomers (%) Overall (%)
Use them more than I used to 31.6 21.7 14.6 24.7
Use them the same as I always have 40.7 36.6 32.3 37.5
Use them less than I used to 14.8 11.4 9.2 12.5
Don't use them at all 12.9 30.3 43.8 25.4
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How has the way in which you use customers reviews in Google changed?
  Gen Y (%) Gen X (%) Baby Boomers (%) Overall (%)
Use them more than I used to 37.4 21.3 16.9 28.0
Use them the same as I always have 40.7 40.2 30.4 37.9
Use them less than I used to 9.9 8.3 9.2 9.3
Don't use them at all 12.1 30.3 43.5 24.9
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About Bankwest
Bankwest provides personal and business banking solutions for more than 1.1 million retail and business customers across Australia. Bankwest customers enjoy access to an extensive network of stores and business centres, direct and third party distribution channels, agencies and electronic banking facilities, as well as 24-hour telephone and internet banking. Bankwest is a division of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

About the report
This data contained in this release was captured as part of a wider survey conducted by Bankwest. Research was carried out by CoreData via an online survey of Victoria and New South Wales residents. The survey was designed, with input and approval from Bankwest, prior to fieldwork commencing. All fieldwork was conducted from 5-11 February 2019. CoreData was responsible for distributing and hosting the survey, which was sent to Victorian and New South Wales residents between the age of 18 and 70. A total of 1,001 responses were completed.

 

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