Buyers of new cars are increasingly opting to buy self-care items instead of buying the latest gadgets and services, new research has found.
The study, published in the journal Nature, found that self-improvement items such as yoga mats, self-cleaning products, and the like are being used more than ever, with many of these being more valuable than their brand-name counterparts.
The survey of more than 1,500 Australians, published by the ABC, found people were increasingly buying self-help products, as a way to help themselves or others.
“People are looking for ways to make their own sense of the world, to feel connected to the natural world,” said study lead author and Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) researcher Dr Elizabeth Cawthorne.
“In the past people would have been more likely to rely on conventional, mass-market, mass media-based self-marketing.”
In fact, the survey found Australians were spending more on self-esteem than they did on technology.
“People are really using the internet as a tool to learn about themselves and to share their thoughts,” Dr Cawstorne said.
The ABS said the survey, conducted by the Australian Bureau Of Statistics, showed that Australians spent on average $834 for self-worth in 2018.
But self-empowerment items are far from the only items Australians are buying.
The ABS also found that the proportion of Australians spending on self improvement items has increased over the past five years, from 15 per cent in 2018 to 24 per cent last year.
In 2018, 43 per cent of Australians reported spending on at least one self-enhancing item, while 35 per cent reported spending more than one item, according to the survey.
And it’s not just buying self care items that is being used in Australia.
Dr Caws research found the number of people buying online self-referencing has also increased.
The online survey found that while just a third of people had used Google or Amazon to access information about self-confidence and self-efficacy, that rose to 41 per cent among those with more than $10,000 of wealth.
“There is a real push in Australia to make self-education accessible to a wider range of Australians,” Dr Jolyon Thomas, a psychology professor at Curtin University, said.
“We are seeing more people in the workplace, for example, who might otherwise have been reluctant to talk about themselves, to speak out about themselves.”
The survey also found a rising number of Australians are finding themselves using social media to help with self-sabotage.
The majority of respondents reported they had used social media as a means of self-harm, with more using it to help their mental health than physical harm, Dr Thomas said.
”The more that people have access to technology, the more they’re using social platforms as a form of self self-destruction,” Dr Thomas added.
According to the ABS, a quarter of Australians have a Facebook page, with people in all income levels sharing their personal lives.
More than half of respondents, 58 per cent, reported using Facebook to find out how much money they could spend on food, with another 15 per 100 saying they used it to find work.
There was also a rise in the use of self care products.
In 2018, more than two-thirds of people reported spending $1,000 on self care, and another 22 per cent spent more than that.
Researchers said they wanted to know more about the rise in self-health spending, because it was not just a problem in Australia, but in other countries too.
More than half the people surveyed said they were planning to spend $1 million on self self health, with two-third of respondents expecting to spend between $1.2 million and $1 billion in the next year.