Australian Spending Back to Pre-COVID-19 Levels, Except in Victoria

In BICSI Blog, BICSI Bytes, Featured, Newsby

Recent data from illion and AlphaBeta showed that spending in Australia has skyrocketed to 17% above normal levels, driven by the massive cash flow impact of early withdrawal of up to AU$10,000 in superannuation money; and the impact of $750 Stimulus payments to 5 million Australians as part of the next round of Stimulus payments.

The new data (covering 6-12 July, which includes four days of the full Melbourne lockdown and NSW closing the border) revealed that almost all of the growth in spending above normal levels was due to Stimulus and Super. When those who were eligible for the Stimulus and received Super were removed from the sample, average spending was actually 2% below normal levels. This is a good sign because it means spending is almost at pre-COVID-19 levels from those who did not receive government support.

Panic-buying before the second lockdown in Victoria buoyed spending in that state, and helped arrest the steep falls likely to be seen the following week.

There has been a significant improvement across category spend in Australia from 9 weeks ago:

  • Gyms and fitness moved up 70 points to 25% below pre-COVID-19 levels
  • Public transport slowly improved, up 23 points to 57% below pre-COVID-19 levels
  • Department store spending up 54% from pre-COVID-19 levels.

Spending in Victoria is around 15% below other states. Panic-buying in Victoria buoyed spending and helped arrest the plummet.  NSW, Western Australia and Queensland are all back to pre-COVID-19 levels, which can be attributed to restrictions being removed (WA) and school holidays (NSW).

Consumer spending across all states except Victoria has skyrocketed and this is due to Stimulus and Super payments. The most interesting part of this data is that while Super and Stimulus payments have accelerated spending, we are now also seeing spending creep up to pre-COVID-19 levels from those who did not receive such support.

The signs of consumer spending in all states except Victoria is very encouraging. Once Victoria gets through this second wave – and assuming it is contained within the state – we will almost certainly see spending increase across all states.