The month of August saw the value of personal loans fall by 3.3% compared to figures from July this year, as reported by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, with personal finance dropping from $7.47-billion in July to $7.22-billion. Commercial loans also saw a dip of 5.2%, from $29.089-billion to $27.59-billion for the same period while lease finance also decreased by 5.1% as all sectors remain cautious in light of factors like the strength of the dollar and global economic uncertainty.
According to the new Financial Wellness Index conducted by ING Direct, households are most concerned about their long term investment prospects when it comes to financial stability. More than half, 55%, of those who participated in the survey do not have assets beyond their own home, and many of them have very little equity in their properties, a figure that is 8% higher than what was reported in the previous Financial Wellness Index.
On another level there was some light at the end of the tunnel as consumer confidence reached a two year high for five of the six indicators that were included in the survey and optimists believe it could be a sign of reactivation in the markets. What also emerged from the results was that savings have reached their highest levels since the first quarter of 2010 and the average account amounts to $9735.
As consumers have been working on clearing their debt the wellness index also revealed that 93% of those surveyed were in a better position to afford their home loans and 88% had improved their credit card debt situation. Significantly credit card debt also dropped to its lowest level since the first quarter of 2010, with the average balance sitting at $1470.
Sentiments on home also improved significantly with 47% of respondents saying they were ahead on their bond repayments. Income level satisfaction also increased by 10% from the second quarter to reach 83% while 66% said their income still did not stretch far enough to cover their expenses, which is a 4% improvement compared to the figures released for the second quarter. With this improving situation underway, some experts predict consumers might soon return to taking out personal loans – only with a more mature attitude toward them.
Despite news about consumers holding back and the worsening economic ripple effect of European debt, eBay reports an increase to its profit margins in response to the growing demand for online shopping. EBay’s profits for the third quarter saw a 2% increase, to $583.89-million as mobile shopping and online transactions continue to rise in popularity. The mobile market continues to impress analysts as consumers take full advantage of the opportunity to shop anywhere, any time.
EBay claims its business model is supportive of companies of all sizes, in a mobile environment that is changing on a continual basis. Revenue for the third quarter saw a year on year increase of 15%, to reach $3.33-billion. PayPal, eBay’s online payment partner also saw a healthy increase in business and profitability, enjoying a 14% increase in the number of active accounts and a revenue stream increase of 23% over the last 12 months.
In keeping with the times of mobile change, eBay revamped its website to give users a more engaging and interactive online experience while doing their shopping. The website now features personal shopping suggestions, targeted at the user’s likes, to help them narrow their searches down while using the massive website and find suitable products. The site now records shoppers’ histories and combines them into a targeted home page, specific to their needs.
EBay appears to have taken some inspiration from social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest in its layout and functionality, a tactic which only stands to serve their expansion plans going forward.