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Commonwealth Bank media release


  • Economy-wide spending increased by 0.2 per cent in January 2015, marking the slowest growth since late 2012.
  • Sales rose most in the ACT, with Tasmania, Western Australia and Queensland also posting sales increases.
  • Businesses in the Hotels & Motels and Transportation sectors saw the biggest sales increases.

Consumer spending across Australia rose modestly in January, with a 0.2 per cent increase in trend terms, according to Commonwealth Bank’s latest Business Sales Indicator (BSI).


Craig James, Chief Economist at the Bank’s broking subsidiary CommSec and author of the BSI report, said that while growth continued to slow in January, businesses can be optimistic about an improvement in consumer spending in the near-term.

“With household finances improving following the fall in petrol prices and recent interest rate cut, we can expect many consumers to slowly start opening their wallets and increasing their spending as we progress through 2015.

“Overall, the economy is in a relative stable position, so business owners should start planning for growth in 2015 and take advantage of the expected increase in household disposable income,” said Mr James.

The BSI is a key measure of economy-wide spending, tracking the value of credit and debit card transactions processed through Commonwealth Bank point-of-sale terminals.


Across industries, spending rose in 11 of the 19 sectors in trend terms. The strongest performers in January were Hotels & Motels (up 1.5 per cent); Transportation (up 1.0 per cent); Service Providers (up 0.7 per cent); and Miscellaneous Stores (up 0.7 per cent).

Falls were recorded in Business Services (down 4.1 per cent); Mail Order/Telephone Order Providers (down 1.5 per cent); Automobile & Vehicle sales (down 1.5 per cent); and Professional Services & Membership Organisations (down 0.8 per cent).


Strong sales increases were recorded in trend terms in the ACT (up 0.7 per cent), Tasmania (up 0.5 per cent), Western Australia (up 0.3 per cent) and Queensland (up 0.1 per cent).

By trend, the BSI has risen for 43 straight months in Queensland, while Tasmania has seen sales rise for 34 consecutive months.

Spending continued to fall in New South Wales (down 2.0 per cent), and contractions were seen in Northern Territory (down 1.1 per cent), South Australia (down 0.6 per cent) and Victoria (down 0.3 per cent).

In annual terms growth was strongest in Tasmania (up 9.6 per cent), Queensland (up 7.4 per cent), South Australia (up 4.9 per cent), Western Australia (up 4.7 per cent) and Victoria (up 2.2 per cent) while only the ACT and NSW had sales below a year ago.




Find out more about the latest Commonwealth Bank Business Sales Indicator.

About the Commonwealth Bank Business Sales Indicator

  • The Commonwealth Bank Business Sales Indicator (BSI) is calculated by tracking the value of credit and debit card transactions processed through Commonwealth Bank merchant facilities throughout Australia.
  • It should be noted that the BSI data has been revised in December to account for changes in the composition of the businesses covered.
  • The BSI has been devised to provide a monthly assessment of spending trends in the Australian economy (covering 19 industry sectors and all Australian states and territories) and is available to the public on the Bank’s website and to the media on or around the 20th day of each month.
  • Credit and debit card transactions can be volatile on a month-to-month basis, affected by seasonal and irregular factors. The BSI is tracked in seasonally adjusted and trend terms. The overall BSI is measured in both seasonally adjusted and trend terms while state/territory and industry data are measured using the less volatile ‘trend’ approach. The seasonally adjusted and trend estimates of the BSI results are derived via the SEASABS statistical program from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
  • The monthly BSI has been devised to provide a more timely assessment of spending trends in the economy. The main monthly indicator of spending in the economy is the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ (ABS) Retail Trade release. However these statistics only cover spending at retail establishments, and exclude spending at a raft of other businesses.
  • The BSI includes transactions made at traditional retail establishments such as supermarkets, clothing stores, cafes and restaurants and as such is more comparable to the ABS Household Final Consumption Expenditure, which is released on a quarterly basis. The BSI also covers businesses such as airlines, car dealers and utilities, such as water and electricity companies, as well as motels, business, professional and government services and wholesalers.
  • The BSI includes industry sectors based on the International Merchant Category Code (IMCC) categories. MCC is a four-digit number assigned to a business when the business first starts accepting cards as a form of payment.

For further media enquiries please contact:

Sarah Gibbons
Commonwealth Bank
M: 0403 681 515