ACCC/AER Regulatory Conference

Lauren Solomon
Chief Executive Officer
July 2021


Consumers and COVID-19 Trends

 

Growing proportion of vulnerable groups take out high-risk-high-cost payday loans or consumer leases

(Question: In the past month, have you taken any of the following actions to manage your household expenses? E.g. payday loans/consumer leases)

Summary of results

  • Slight trend growth in the proportion of Australian consumers taking out high-cost-high-risk payday loans/consumer leases from May – December

Among consumer subgroups, the trend has been much sharper – peaking in November:

  • 9% of young people (18-34) – extrapolated this equates to more than half a million young people (535k)
  • 7% of consumers living with disability
  • 7% of renters
  • 8% of CALD consumers (not shown)
  • 3% of the Australian population

 


Growing proportion of vulnerable groups relying on credit/BNPL

(Question:  In the past month, have you taken any of the following actions to manage your household expenses?)

Summary of results

  • Slight trend growth in the proportion of Australian consumers relying on credit or BNPL for household expenses from May – December
  • Among consumer subgroups like renters, the trend has been much sharper, peaking in September:  37% of renters – compared with 26% of the Australian population


Consumers missing household bill payments on the rise

(Question: Thinking of your (household bills), have you attempted any of the following in the last 4 weeks?)

Summary of results

Renters in particular struggled to make payments – trending up from 4% in May across the period peaking at 10% in Nov. Among renters:

  • 22% of CALD community missed rental payment in November
  • 17% of young people missed rental payment in November

Missed credit card, loan or BNPL repayments also steadily increased across the period. Again, a higher proportion of particular subgroups reported missing a credit payment:

  • 12% of young people in both Nov and Dec
  • 11% of renters in both Nov and Dec
  • 10% of CALD consumers in Nov and 11% in Dec

Regulatory Approaches to consumer vulnerability

 

Key measures underpinning vulnerability strategies

 

(Exploring regulatory to vulnerability – A report for the Australian Energy Regulator 2020)


For more information…

KEY REPORTS

Exploring regulatory approaches to vulnerability: A report for the Australian Energy Regulator

The experiences of older consumers: Towards markets that work for people

Vulnerability, capability, opportunity: Understanding consumer vulnerability as a key to unlocking benefit from the Consumer Data Right

Consumers and COVID-19: from crisis to recovery (series)

 

 

Consumer vulnerability – insights and regulatory approaches

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