Almost half of Aussies have not felt true happiness for over two years

Gretchen Rubin, five-time New York Times bestseller author and podcaster

While the past two years has changed what people value, many Aussies are in pursuit of happiness and looking to brands to make them smile, according to the Happiness Report from Oracle and Gretchen Rubin, five-time New York Times bestselling author and podcaster.

What were the findings of the study?

The report of over 12,000 people across 14 countries, including 1,212 Aussies, found that people are searching for experiences to make them smile and will reward brands that embrace humour with loyalty and repeat purchases and walk away from those that don’t.

Aussies searching for happiness willing to pay a premium

Like the rest of the world, Australians are searching for ways to be happy again: 

  • 69% of people said the pandemic changed what it means to be happy and 48% have not felt true happiness for more than two years.
  • 32% of Aussies have forgotten what it means to feel truly happy, the second highest after the UK (35%). 63% said it is harder to feel happy now versus before the pandemic.
  • To feel just an hour of true happiness, many people would give up friends (55%), part of their income (53%), showering (50%), food (38%) for a week.
  • At 77%, Aussies are the least likely to look for new experiences to make them smile. People are prioritising personal connections (81%) and health (71%) to gain happiness.
  • Over (56%) wish money could buy happiness, with 73% willing to pay a premium for true happiness. This is the third lowest compared to other countries, perhaps indicating that Australians still love a discount – even when it comes to their own happiness.
  • Australians were the least likely to prioritise financial wellness over happiness (27%).
  • 80% of Aussies attempted to find happiness in online shopping during the pandemic. Only 38% reported not purchasing when shopping online, indicating that Australians are the least likely to window shop and are likely to convert into paying clients at checkout.
  • The survey also found 43% said that receiving packages made them happy, but 10% struggled to remember the purchases they had made online.

Marketing, sales, and customer service interactions need to change

People want brands to make them smile and laugh. Business leaders globally are scared of using humour in client interactions for fear of being cancelled. While getting humour wrong can easily offend people – Aussies were found to be most forgiving when compared to the other countries surveyed – being least likely to cancel a brand due to being offended (33%).

  • 63% of Aussies believe brands can do more to deliver happiness and 83% said they preferred brands to be funny; this number increased among Gen Z and Millennials (94%).
  • 86% are more likely to remember ads that are funny, yet business leaders said that only 23% of their brands general ads (TV, billboards) and 20% of their online ads use humour.
  • 71% of Australians are more likely to click on a digital ad if it’s funny, and 68% are more likely to buy from a salesperson that is funny. While this is the lowest of all the countries in the report, this is still a majority, so the fact that only 13% of Australian business leaders reported their brands use humour to sell seems like a missed opportunity.
  • 64% of Australians would follow a brand if it’s funny on its social media channels, yet only 14% of business leaders said their brand is humorous on social.
  • 63% of Australians would open an email from a brand if the subject line were funnier, yet only 25% of business leaders said they actively use humour in email marketing campaigns.
  • 59% would prefer to engage with a chatbot/digital assistant that is funny, yet only 29% of business leaders said their brands actively incorporate humour into robot communications.

Laughter pays dividends, but leaders afraid to joke around

Aussies want brands to make them smile and laugh. They will reward brands that embrace humour with loyalty, advocacy, and repeat purchases and walk away from those that don’t.

  • 39% of Aussies don’t believe they have a relationship with a brand unless it makes them smile and 34% would walk away from a brand if it didn’t make them laugh regularly.
  • If a brand uses humour, people are more likely to buy from the brand again (77%), recommend the brand to family and friends (76%), choose the brand over the competition (69%), and spend more with a brand (57%).
  • 86% of business leaders see the opportunity to use humour to enhance the customer experience and believe that their brand can do more to make customers laugh or smile.
  • 36% of business leaders state that they do not have the data insights or tools to successfully deliver humour. Business leaders would be more confident using humour when engaging with customers if they had better customer visibility (55%) and access to advanced technologies like artificial intelligence (32%).

What were the executives’ thoughts on the study?

“We’ve all been through some very tough years, and happiness around the world is lacking. We’re starved for experiences that make us laugh and smile, but brands can help,” commented Gretchen Rubin, five-time New York Times bestseller author and podcaster.

“For brands looking to contribute to the happiness of their target audience, it starts with data and knowing your customers. Only then, can you bring the appropriate mix of humour, personality and brand experience that will drive loyalty and brand advocacy,” she further said.

“People are ready to embrace the funny side of life and find joy and laughter in the world, which includes brand experiences. Most business leaders want to make consumers laugh more but are fearful of getting it wrong. With the right technology, leaders can harness data and the insight to contextually deliver a happier experience that can then drive lifelong loyalty,” said Christian Ludlow Hyland, senior director Customer Engagement Oracle APAC.

Learn more about this global report here.