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Media release

CommBank can

Media release

Australians Showing a Taste for Convenience

CommBank Signals reveal fast food and cafes are booming at the expense of restaurants

Thursday 9th May, 2013: According to CommBank Signals1, fast food outlets and cafes are becoming much more seductive for Australians compared to restaurants. The key data is as follows:

  • Average spend per month2 on fast food has increased by 23 per cent in the last 4 years1
  • The average spend per month2 on restaurant dining has fallen by 9 per cent over the last 4 years1
  • The average Aussie spends $70 a week on eating out (cafes, takeaway and restaurants) - across the nation, this equates to a total of $60 billion per year3
  • The number of people spending on fast food with debit and credit cards has increased by 15 per cent in the last 4 years1 as a result of convenient payment methods such as contactless and more people turning to fast food
  • The average Australian spends $139 on grocery shopping a week, with the average per person spend at $563
  • The number of cafes in Australia has increased, returning to levels of 20091
  • Aussies’ favourite dinner takeaway is Chinese, followed by Italian and Thai, with states differing significantly on their preferred cuisine3

CommBank transactional data reveals the average fast food spend per month2 has increased by 23 per cent in the last four years, and the number of Australians spending with their credit or debit card on fast food has also increased from 25 per cent in 2009 to 40 per cent in 20121.

Cafes are also faring well with the number of cafes returning to the level it was in 2009; following a decline in 2010 and again in 20111.

On the other side of the plate, analysis of CommBank’s internal data indicate the monthly average spend2 on restaurant dining has decreased by 9 per cent since 2009, especially evident during the Christmas period, which has seen a 19 per cent decline in corporate restaurant expenditure since 20092.

Diana Mousina, CommBank’s Signals Economist sheds light on these trends; “As a nation, we are opting for fast food and cafes as a cheaper and more convenient alternatives to restaurants and dining at home. The restaurant decline, as indicated by CommBank Signals data, also reflects a more frugal consumer mindset post the global financial crisis. Accentuating the trend is the decline of corporate spend at restaurants over Christmas, as businesses cut costs and look at less traditional ways to celebrate.”

According to additional research4, the average Australian will spend $70 a week eating out at cafes, restaurants and fast food outlets. Those from Victoria ($81pp) and NSW ($79pp) spend the most on eating out on an average week, while those in South Australia ($49pp) spend the least.

When it comes to where the nation chooses to dine, Australia’s favourite takeaway cuisine is Chinese, followed by Italian and Thai4. As a nation however, we’re divided; those living in NSW are more likely than other states to rank Thai as their favourite (22 per cent vs. national average of 15 per cent), while Victorians are more likely than other states to opt for Italian (17 per cent vs. 11 per cent). Meanwhile, South Australians are more likely than other states to appreciate American fast-food (39 per cent vs. 24 per cent) and more West Australians crave Chinese food (32 per cent vs. 25 per cent) more than other areas. Almost one third (28 per cent) of Queenslanders ranked Chinese as their preferred takeaway.

The majority of Australians (72 per cent) consider the price of basic foodstuffs (milk, bread, cheese, eggs etc.) to have increased over the past two years4. Australians are spending almost 1.5 times more on groceries than takeaway each week. Those from NSW spend the most on their grocery shopping in an average week ($142 vs. national average $139), whereas Victorians spend the least ($136).

CommBank research also identified online food trends showing that over half (54 per cent) of Aussies aged 18-24 admitted they’ve taken pictures of their food whilst eating out and 39 per cent have shared it via social media4. Almost half (44 per cent) of those aged 25-34 have also taken a picture of their dish with 32 per cent sharing on social media.

For more information and an infographic on the data, visit CommBank’s consumer trends website, Signals, which identifies trends based on CommBank transactional data.


1 Sourced from CommBank credit system transactional data 2009-12, which includes credit card and debit MasterCard transactions

2Average spend per account adjusted for trends in all credit & debit consumer spend, as well as retail price index changes 2009-12

3CommBank Signals commissioned a study with Lonergan Research among 1,026 Australians aged 18 years and over, including both capital city and non-capital city areas. Fieldwork commenced on Friday, March 22 and was completed on Wednesday, March 27, 2013. The average grocery shopping trip involves 2.5 people.

4 CommBank Signals commissioned a study with Lonergan Research among 1,026 Australians aged 18 years and over, including both capital city and non-capital city areas. Fieldwork commenced on Friday, March 22 and was completed on Wednesday, March 27, 2013

- ENDS -

Additional Assets:

The following additional assets are available as part of the research:

  • Interview with CommBank Signals spokesperson (see biographies below)
  • Infographic of Australia’s favourite takeaways by state (attached alongside release)
  • Table on Australians favourite dinner takeaway (below)
Mean rank Type of take-away
3.2 Chinese
3.9 Italian
3.9 Thai
4.2 American fast-food
4.8 Indian
5.3 Mexican
5.4 Japanese
5.4 Vietnamese

For further information, images or interviews, contact:
Elizabeth Lovett
Public Relations Advisor
T (02) 9303 1403 / M 0400 234 035 / elizabeth.lovett@cba.com.au

About CommBank Signals website:
CommBank Signals is a content platform that houses information on CommBank transactional data, looking at consumer buying patterns and trends to assist consumers in making better and more informed financial decisions. A new focus, or Signal, is published each month. All trends are based on aggregated spend data and no individually identifiable information is made available to the public.
For more information, visit www.commbank.com.au/signals

About Diana Mousina, CommBank Signals Economist:

Diana joined CommBank in 2011.  As an Economist her responsibilities include monitoring, analysing and forecasting trends in the Australian economy and sharing these insights. Diana holds a Bachelor of Commerce/Economics from the University of New South Wales.

About Juliette Saly, CommBank Spokesperson and Market Analyst at CommSec:

Juliette Saly is a Market Analyst with Australia’s leading online broker, Commonwealth Securities. She presents daily stock market reports to Sky News Australia, Channel Nine, Network Ten and ABC TV; as well as to numerous radio stations around the country. Juliette also appears in international media, and has presented on Sky News London, Al Jazeera, CNBC, TVNZ and Fox News. She also writes updates for the CommSec website, and is regularly featured as a market commentator in online and print media

How the research was calculated:
CommBank Signals data is calculated through the collection and analysis of CommBank transactional data over the past 4 years (2009 – 2012) combined with CommBank research findings. The data is scrutinised by a CommBank senior analyst, researcher and economist to ensure accuracy.

Additional research was conducted by Lonergan Research among 1,026 Australians aged 18 years and over, including both capital city and non-capital city areas. Fieldwork commenced on Friday, March 22 and was completed on Wednesday, March 27, 2013.

Media contact:

Elizabeth Lovett
Public Relations Advisor
T (02) 9303 1403 / M 0400 234 035 / elizabeth.lovett@cba.com.au

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