Based on a new poll conducted by Interconsult, the Australia Retailers Association (ARA) says retailers need to brace for another tough year as three quarters of consumers plan to become even thriftier.

The ARA Consumer Spending Confidence Survey, which involved 1006 participants from across Australia, indicated that 61 per cent of consumers will be seeking out sales while 14 per cent will be cutting their spending drastically in the next 12 months.

ARA executive director Russell Zimmerman says results from the survey, showing two thirds (65 per cent) of consumers agreed saving was more important than spending,  was bad news for retailers who had been hoping spring sales would bump-up otherwise dismal trade.

“Around about half of consumer respondents said they were choosing stores based on price not convenience (55 per cent), they were doing without better quality brands to save money (almost 50 per cent) and they were spending time researching prices online to find the best deals before buying (52 per cent),” he says.

“It seems consumer’s penchant for spending less and saving more has more to do with the nation’s economic conditions than individual incomes with 45 per cent expecting no change in their current financial situation but over 60 per cent uncertain about financial times ahead for Australia.”

Additionally, the survey revealed the level of uncertainty would only be exacerbated by the current hung parliament and political climate.

“However, the level of disposable household income did impact spending plans for the next 12 months, with the 25 per cent of respondents who reported they wouldn’t change their current spending habits, tending to be older couples with no children at home and those with incomes over $100,000,” Zimmerman says.