Small businesses should assume customer confidence is high in order to boost sales, according to Roy Morgan Research.
The latest Roy Morgan findings shows consumer confidence is up by 7.4 points since last week, which is being driven by Australians’ perceptions that now is a good time to buy major household items.
Positive media reports of Australia’s future over the next five years, in light of the mining boom, have also attributed to increased confidence.
Roy Morgan executive chairman Garry Morgan says the quick rebound on confidence, on the back of the latest round of interest rate rises, spells good news for retailers.
“It will give retailers hope that the important Christmas shopping period, which is now starting, will not be as poor as many have feared,” Morgan says.
Roy Morgan chief executive Michele Levine says small businesses should assume people are feeling positive about the economy and are willing to spend.
“Don’t assume that everyone’s worrying about every penny – that’s the worst thing that you can do,” Levine says.
“If someone walks into your shop and you lament over the tough time you’re having, that will turn people off.”
Another trend to emerge from the findings is that more Australians have a desire for overseas travel.
A total of 21% of Australians would like to holiday in Asia in the next two years, up from 19% for the months to September 2009, and 15% in the 12 months to September 2011.
However, Europe is still the most preferred overseas holiday destination, with 27% of Australians saying they would like to holiday there.
Jane Ianniello, Roy Morgan’s international director of tourism, travel and leisure, says Australia’s affiliation with Asia has seen it become an increasingly popular holiday destination.
“With a growing percentage of Australians born in Asia, there has been an increased exposure to, and interest in, Asian culture and food,” she says.
“The average Australian is becoming more open to new things and ideas and more willing to holiday at exotic destinations.”
“In addition, there has been increased air access to Asia with the addition of many new destinations.”
Levine says local businesses can still compete for tourist dollars despite the increasing allure of international travel.
“The difficulty for small businesses is that it’s impossible to challenge a national trend. What every small business has to do is capitalise on the people who do actually come to them,” she says.
“A lot of businesses that are struggling financially might assume that everyone else is struggling, and approach their customers as if the most important thing they can do is not take their money.”
“But if people are on holiday, they want to have a fabulous experience so offer them the very best and the very most that you can. Have confidence in your products or services, and convey this to your customers.”