Commonwealth Bank media release


  • The October Business Sales Indicator saw 0.6 per cent growth in trend terms – matching growth over the past three months
  • The October BSI result continues the run of uninterrupted growth every month back to mid-2011
  • Growth occurred across the country, with every state and territory experiencing a lift in sales

Economy-wide spending growth remained firm for the third month in a row, with every state and territory across the country seeing a lift in sales, according to the latest Commonwealth Bank Business Sales Indicator (BSI).

Economy-wide spending grew in October by 0.6 per cent in trend terms, the same figure as the preceding three months, however down from the 0.7-0.8 per cent increases seen earlier in the year from March-June. With growth in the latest month, economy-wide spending has now risen in every month back to mid-2011.

Annual growth of spending also remained steady at 7.5 per cent - similar to growth experienced for the past six months – remaining well above the decade-average of 5.1 per cent.

The more volatile seasonally adjusted measure of the BSI posted a 0.5 per cent gain in October, down from a strong 3.3 per cent increase in September, while annual seasonally adjusted growth eased from an 11-month high of 9.0 per cent to 7.4 per cent.

Craig James, Chief Economist, CommSec, said that businesses will be hoping for a lift in sales growth in November and December in the lead up to Christmas.

“With spending growth remaining solid in October, businesses will really be hoping that this continues over the coming months. Annual growth figures still show that economy-wide spending remains above the decade average, and this continues a long stretch of positive annual growth dating back to early 2012.

“Australian businesses have reasons for optimism ahead of Christmas given a lower Aussie dollar, declining unemployment, positive consumer sentiment and interest rates near generational lows,” Mr James said.

Industry analysis

At an industry level, notable winners included Miscellaneous Stores and Mail Order & Telephone Order Providers (both up 1.1 per cent), as well as Transportation and Hotels & Motels (both up 1.0 per cent). The large Retail Stores sector also grew by 0.8 per cent in October, after seeing similar growth for the past five months.

At the other end of the scale, just six of the 19 sectors contracted in October. These included Airlines, Amusement & Entertainment, Automobiles & Vehicles, Government Services, Personal Service Providers and Utilities.

State-by-state analysis

Sales in October rose in trend terms in every state and territory across Australia. Tasmania again experienced the strongest growth, up 1.3 per cent, with Western Australia (up 0.6 per cent), NSW (up 0.5 per cent), South Australia, Victoria and the ACT (all up 0.3 per cent), Queensland (up by 0.2 per cent) and Northern Territory (up less than 0.1 per cent) also experiencing growth.

In annual terms, two states and territories had sales below a year ago: Northern Territory (down 6.9 per cent) and NSW (down 1.2 per cent). Annual growth was strongest in Tasmania (up 10.9 per cent) from South Australia (up 9.2 per cent), Western Australia (up 8.6 per cent), the ACT (up 8.3 per cent), Queensland (up 6.0 per cent) and Victoria (up 0.5 per cent).

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.


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.
  • 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.

Media contact:

Commonwealth Bank Media 
P: 02 9118 6919