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1 in 3 prioritise having fun and doing their thing as the nation recovers from a year like no other  

Published on 01/03/2021


ING’s new Sense of Us report reveals Aussies just want to have fun

Monday 1 March 2021 – After a generation-defining year that prevented 1 in 2 from achieving what they set out to do, a new national report released by ING in Australia reveals Aussies are determined to enjoy themselves and just do their thing.

The report reveals it is the simple things Aussies get the most pleasure from, including: bushwalking (41%), swimming at the beach or surfing (39%), camping (30%) and taking a trip to the hardware store (28%).

The report, delves into what Aussies do that makes them uniquely them: from what career they desire to do most (scientist) to what stimulates them creatively (music). It also uncovers the slang terms we use with “yeah nah” topping the list and how many close friends we have on average (five).

The Sense of Us report even settles some of the nation’s most hotly debated topics including, top coffee order (cappuccino), the Aussie icon we treasure most (Steven Irwin), our most loved athlete (Cathy Freeman), and our favourite city to visit (Melbourne).

Melanie Evans, CEO of ING Australia, said:

“These findings epitomise the year we’ve had where the everyday things we enjoy doing have been harder to do. As a nation we’re craving fun and turning to the simple things in life.

The pandemic has made many Australians want to be better prepared for the future. With many having to re-think or find new careers against the COVID backdrop, it’s perhaps not surprising to see scientist top the list as the job Australians desire to do most.

It’s more important than ever to help our customers by giving them the confidence and freedom they need to do their thing. We do this by removing friction from banking and being by their side whenever and however they need us.

To do this well we really need to understand the ‘things’ Aussies are doing that make them who they are. This is why we created the ING Sense of Us report.”

ING’s comprehensive index can be viewed online, with key take-outs including:

The things on the nation’s to-do list in 2021

While finances (38%), career (30%) and travel (26%) goals unsurprisingly top lists life time aspirations, Aussies also revealed some more individual and unique aspirations, relating to happiness and spirituality (20%), as well as community service and sustainability (7%). And after difficult setbacks in 2020, 31% of Aussies turned to the optimistic plan of simply “having more fun” this year.

Aussie slang

As a country that is known for its unique abbreviations and phrases, “Yeah Nah” (38%), “Arvo” (38%) and “Old Mate” (29%) were chosen as Australians’ favourite slang. Aussies also revealed their frequent use of emojis as a form of communication, with almost half (43%) admitting to using them every day and “Smiling emoji” (35%) and “Cry laughing emoji” (24%) being most-used emojis.

The modern family

The last 12 months have placed a new emphasis on what ‘family’ means to Australians, as 1 in 5 (21%) say they have become closer with their loved ones. What’s more, who we consider family extends beyond relatives, with close friends (51%), being thought as our “next of kin”, while pets (41%) are considered closer companions than in-laws (31%)!

The hustle

Aussies are an ambitious lot when it comes their career, with one in three (30%) inspired to focus on career goals and education for the year ahead. Making extra cash is also up there on the list, as nearly half of Aussies (48%) either have or are planning to start a side hustle, whether it’s selling stuff online (37%), investing (30%), freelance writing (13%) or creating art (13%).

Source of creativity

Music, above anything, is key to productivity and creativity, with Aussies saying it helped them look after their wellbeing (56%) and kept them focused (33%). Getting energised through activities such as sport also helps Aussies to unlock creative juices, and many say they have an array of creative expressions including design (21%) and dancing (14%).

Home & away

In the highly contested battle of the cities, Australians chose Melbourne (28%) over Sydney (25%) as their favourite city, followed by Brisbane (11%), Perth and Adelaide (both 9%) respectively. Aussies recognised the country’s “relaxed attitude” (28%), “mix of lifestyles” (25%) and “beautiful wildlife” (18%) as the attributes that makes Australia so unique from other countries

National treasures

Australian legend Steve Irwin was chosen by more than 1 in 5 (21%) Aussies as their national icon, easily beating popular celebrities such as Chris Hemsworth (11%), Paul Hogan (10%) and Nicole Kidman (9%). While singer Delta Goodrem (12%) was chosen as the nation’s secret crush, outranking surprising entries including Hamish Blake (8%), Keith Urban (8%) and even Scott Morrison (4%).

Homegrown entertainment

The Castle (23%) was selected as Australia’s favourite movie, and Kath & Kim (19%) topped the list for favourite TV series. But it was the nation’s most legendary song that caused the closest race, with Men at Work’s “Down Under” (38%) nipping John Farnham’s “You’re the Voice” (25%) to the top spot.

As Australia’s most recommended bank, ING is here to support Aussies across the country to ‘Do Their Thing’, no matter what it is. Visit for more information.




Notes to editors

Research was undertaken by YouGov in February 2021. Total sample size was 1,054. The figures are representative of all Australian adults (aged 18+).

For more information contact Megan Landauro on 0413 317 225 or


About ING

ING changed the way Australians bank 21 years ago by launching the country’s first branchless bank. ING now offers Australians award winning home loans, transactional banking, superannuation, credit cards, personal lending, insurance and wholesale banking services.

ING is Australia’s most recommended bank according to RFi XPRT Survey, August 2020 – January 2021 (n = 31,512) when compared to customers of 20 other banks operating in Australia. It is also Australia’s fifth largest main financial institution (MFI) with 6% of market share according to RFi XPRT Survey, August 2020 – January 2021 (n=31,512). MFI is defined as the bank that the consumer says is their main financial institution.


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