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Mapping the minds of South Australians


In the first of a weekly series, we look for insights into how South Australians have reacted to COVID-19 and what this means for the state’s recovery.

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Adelaide-based market and cultural research agency Square Holes has been monitoring the mind and mood of South Australians over March and April 2020 through surveys and weekly focus groups with different age groups.

Over the coming months, Square Holes will team up with InDaily’s Business Insights to shed some light on what people are feeling and what this means for everything from spending habits to confidence in the economy.

According to Square Holes founder and managing director Jason Dunstone, so far the research indicates that while there is some nervousness about respondents’ own finances and those of the broader economy, they are generally adapting well and in many ways enjoying the pause to hectic lives and commuting to work.

“Working remotely has certainly reduced travel time and allowed employees and employers to experiment with the pros and cons of working from home,” Dunstone said.

“Our data is illustrating that more people are feeling disconnected from their work colleagues yet are feeling quite well connected with family and friends.

“While many will change how they work, and home working will likely increase, it is not the end of offices and the valuable interactions and connection it brings.”

Square Holes gathers the data from a weekly longitudinal survey of 1300 people plus focus groups combined with a monthly representative survey of 400 South Australians above the aged of 18 asking about spending shifts, economic and consumer confidence, mental health, behaviour change and other key topics.

Dunstone said the research indicates that South Australians had “adjusted well to the chaos”.

“What people are looking forward to the most are the basics,” Dunstone said.

“They want to meet friends and family at a local café or restaurant, and have the freedom to go to the movies, shop, or see a live performance.

“There is also a keenness to travel, with travel within South Australia on the list of many as soon as they are again permitted to do so.”

The March and April surveys will serve as a baseline to then explore more specific aspects each week within this column, with retail spending being examined next week.

Visit the Square Holes website for more insights or to get involved in the South Australia Mind and Mood Research.

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