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Research: Social media is changing Aussies’ spending habits


Sydney, Australia – Australians are spending on average nearly $500 per month or $6,000 a year on discretionary items via social media and apps, according to the latest Know Your Numbers Index*by leading digital bank, ubank.

With 19.75 million adults in Australia, that is a whopping $118.24 billion dollars being spent on discretionary items each year, via our devices.

ubank CEO, Philippa Watson said: “COVID restrictions have not only changed the way we live but how we spend and make purchases. Australians are finding new avenues to part with their cash using apps on their phones and devices.”

“More surprisingly, it’s men who are spending more on average each month in areas like clothing, dining out, entertainment and gadgets.”

According to the research, men are spending an average of $602 each month and women $400 on items such as clothing and shoes ($89.14 compared to $75.44); dining out ($102 compared to $62); entertainment ($86 compared to $56); and tech gadgets ($88 compared to $38).

Broken down by generations, Millennials are spending the most each month ($773), compared to Gen X ($528), Gen Z ($465) and Baby Boomers ($236). In fact, Millennials account for 50% of all discretionary spending on these channels splashing $59.1 billion each year.

Additionally, 22% of Aussies say they spend up to 40% of their total discretionary spend on items via social media/apps, with nearly 10% spending 50-70%.

Social media is positively impacting some spending habits

But while it’s an extra avenue to spend, one in five (21%) Australians say social media has had a positive impact on the way they manage their money.

Millennials (35%) are more likely than all other generations to say social media has had a positive impact on the way they manage their money.

“While we know young people love social media and apps, it’s encouraging to see some positive money management behaviours resulting from these channels,” Ms Watson said.

“Additionally, many banks offer free budgeting tools and bill predictors via their apps. Customers should be taking advantage of these to ensure they’re staying on track and can splurge a little in other areas,” Ms Watson said.

Millennials (45%) and Gen X (42%) are also more likely than Baby Boomers (29%) to say COVID-19 will have a positive impact on their long-term spending patterns.



*ubank Know Your Numbers Index data conducted and compiled by YouGov Galaxy between the 11–13 July 2021. The sample comprised of 1,050 Australian adults aged 18+. Following the completion of interviewing, the data was weighted by age, gender and region to reflect the latest ABS population estimates.