New Kantar study finds financial autonomy key to building self-esteem for Australians in the post-pandemic era

Kantar’s Finding Financial Freedom Report reveals the changing face of financial services in Australia

  • Just 1 in 10 women say they have above average self-esteem
  • 4 in 5 Australians say becoming financially independent is very important to them
  • 1 in 10 women rate their financial knowledge as ‘quite to very high’
  • 3 in 5 Australians want to consolidate their products with one financial services provider

Sydney, 17 November 2021: Against the backdrop of COVID-19 and changes in Australia’s business, retirement and health systems, achieving financial autonomy has never been more complex. New research from Kantar Australia reveals that addressing financial literacy and autonomy, and in turn self-esteem – irrespective of gender – is now a commercial imperative for financial services brands as we navigate a post-pandemic 2022.

Kantar’s Finding Financial Freedom state-of-the-nation study overwhelmingly finds that financial freedom is key to unlocking self-esteem in Australians as the pandemic has increased our need to make informed choices to be financially independent – especially where the opportunity to grow wealth is challenged in our low interest environment. But it’s a bleak picture. Just 1 in 10 women claim to have above average self-esteem compared to over a quarter of Aussie males.

“The picture isn’t much brighter when it comes to financial knowledge and literacy,” says Carolyn Reid, Head of Qualitative at Kantar Australia. “Just 1 in 10 women and 3 in 10 men rate their financial knowledge as ‘quite to very high’ but they’re all asking for help. Two in 5 women and 3 in 10 men want to be more confident in understanding finance.”

“It is no secret Covid has disproportionately impacted women and is threatening the real progress society has made towards gender equality and female empowerment. But our research finds that financial autonomy is the biggest contributor to self-esteem and overall well-being for Australians today – irrespective of gender, age and life stage.”

“This begs the question, is the financial services industry signaling it is less interested in women – even if unintentionally?” says Reid.

“Overall, 3 in 4 Australians don’t believe financial services brands understand what’s important to them, and only 1 in 5 believe that these brands are actively working to educate them on financial matters. By making it a priority to work harder to change the conversation and boost financial self-esteem – and by doing so for women – you’ll also be helping men.”

When it comes to saving, less than 1 in 5 women saved $10,000+ in the last year, yet almost one-third of men were able to – and that third say they are more likely to use multiple financial services providers to get the best options. But regardless, 3 in 5 Australians want to consolidate with one financial services provider. Dig deeper and you find women are more loyal, with only a quarter saying they prefer multiple players to get the best option from each.

Kantar’s BrandZ brand equity database also shows us that brands are a little more important for women when deciding on which financial institution to direct their business to than they are for men.

“But more importantly, when a brand gets it right for that female audience, we know that brands that skew female in their appeal are not only more attractive to females but more attractive to men as well,” says Ryan France, Kantar Australia’s Head of Brand Strategy.

“Female skewed brands are more meaningfully different for all Australians, predisposing us to select them over competition and driving growth for the business.”

“So, it’s time to get Australians talking about money,” adds Reid.

“Australians are not comfortable talking about money – how to save, manage or invest. It’s a conversation we’re too vulnerable to have, and yet our research highlights talking openly about money is an important cultural and societal step toward improving financial literacy.”

“We also know from our new Kantar Millennium Monitor report that society is changing again as post-pandemic Australians are moving from an era of conformity underpinned by safety and security to one of rebellion,” says Reid.

“This new era will be led by those courageous enough to challenge the status quo, change everything and find a better way. Seven in 10 Australians (68%) are looking for ways to simplify their life with half (49%) saying believe brands have an important role to play in the social conversation.”

“In fact, Covid has forced a reset and people are now more open to the conversation about financial independence. It has accelerated a new values economy where what matters most to Australians has tilted on its axis. Aussies are looking for brands, services and products that offer a more insightful and contemporary narrative. They’re at a loss to where to turn for support to help them make informed decisions – and feel vulnerable about where and how to start the conversation. This is a very powerful gap for brands to fill.”


Notes for editors

  • Kantar’s Finding Financial Freedom reveals the changing face of financial wellbeing in Australia. This state-of-the-nation report shares the financial behaviours and attitudes of 3,500 Australians from their answers to 80+ questions surveyed between June 4 -14, 2021.
  • Kantar’s Millennium Monitor is a unique social trend monitor providing strategic direction for brands to see the future and plan for it. The 2021 data was collected from n=1,150 Australians surveyed between March 5-25, 2021.
  • Kantar BrandZ brings industry-leading brand valuation, combined with research from the world’s largest and most extensive brand equity study: 4 million consumers covering 18,000 brands across 512 categories in 50 markets.

Carolyn Reid and Ryan France are both available for interview.
Please contact Jeannie Duhigg | | 0405 946 559

About Kantar
Kantar is the world’s leading evidence-based insights and consulting company. We have a complete, unique and rounded understanding of how people think, feel and act; globally and locally in over 90 markets. By combining the deep expertise of our people, our data resources and benchmarks, our innovative analytics and technology, we help our clients understand people and inspire growth.