In the ABS’s most recent ‘Household Impacts of COVID-19 Survey’, which was conducted from early April to early May, 58% of respondents reported spending more time in front of the TV, computer, phone or other device. This has been reflected in the substantial sales growth across a number of Australia’s consumer electronics retailers, such as The Good Guys, which recorded sales growth of 13.9% in Q3 FY20.
On top of people seeking out entertainment at home, this would have also been driven by more Australians working from home. Roy Morgan research from early May found that the majority of employed Australians who do at least some work from home ‘find it difficult to switch off from work’.
According to the ABS, nearly half of Australians worked from home over the survey period.
Overall, the ABS COVID-19 survey found that loneliness was the most widely reported source of personal stress for Australians during April, though this affected women (28%) more than men (16%).
“Around one in five people (19%) also reported that they were experiencing some difficulties maintaining a healthy lifestyle, which was more of a problem for those aged 18 to 64 years old (22%) than those aged 65 years and over (9%),” said Michelle Marquardt, ABS Program Manager for Household Surveys.
Around 22% of interviewees were eating more snack foods, such as chips, lollies and biscuits.
Some 38% said that they were spending more time cooking or baking. In April Roy Morgan found that Australians were collectively spending 71% more time on cooking websites.
The ABS survey also noted the trend towards telehealth. “During the period from early April to early May, one in six Australians aged 18 years and over (17%) used a Telehealth service. Almost half (43%) said the Telehealth service was a replacement for a previously arranged face-to-face appointment,” Marquardt said.