By Holly Fallon

An international survey has revealed Australians are among the most financially concerned shoppers in the world.

Boston Consulting Group (BCG) surveyed 16 economies around the world and tested 1,400 Australian consumers.

BCG Australia partner James Goth says the survey found consumers around the world are tightening their belt.

“People from all around the world have a much different outlook on how they spend money and how they save,” he says.

“I think now that house prices aren’t going up as quickly as they used to, people feel they can’t justify going out and spending lots of money on discretionary consumption.”

But the fact Australian spending habits match those in crippling economies in Europe is unusual, says Mr Goth.

“Australia is by far a stronger economy than most of the other developed economies we’ve looked at,” he says.

“Yet that seems to have no impact on how insecure people feel financially or in their jobs and how they intend to spend their money.”

He warns retailers should prepare for tough times ahead.

“If our read on what people are intending to do is right, retail spending will not grow and may even continue to contract,” he says.

“It’s not a good outlook for the retail sector.”

But Ingrid Just, spokeswoman for Choice Consumer Group, says consumers are still spending money and these findings are a result of only temporary economic unease.

“We do know that Australian have started to return back to normal spending and savings behaviour like we used to undertake 15 or 20 years ago,” she says.