The CommBank Household Spending Intentions (HSI) Index for November 2021, released today, is at its highest level since December 2019, recovering all the ground lost during the COVID-19 period.

The index – which provides an in-depth gauge of Australian consumer spending – rose 2.1 per cent during November to 110.3, driven by solid gains in spending on Transport (+21.5 per cent), Travel (+14.7 per cent), Retail (+9.6 per cent) and Household services (+9.4 per cent). 

Transport spending has risen 52 per cent since the Delta lockdown low of August 2021. Fuel stations, taxis, tyre stores, car parking, auto repairs, towing and freight & trucking services have led the surge. Travel spending also rose by a significant 77 per cent over the same period, with the largest increases including hotels, motels and resorts, travel agents, airlines and tourist attractions.

Retail spending has risen 21 per cent since the low point in August, with the largest gains in department stores, clothing, furniture & household equipment, electronic stores, household appliances, jewellery & watches and pet shops. In a further positive note, it looks like end-of-year celebrations have driven increased spending on cosmetics, tailors & alterations and clothing rentals.

Commonwealth Bank of Australia’s (CBA) Chief Economist, Stephen Halmarick, said the data pointed to a continued recovery in the economy following extended periods of lockdown faced by many Australians.

“The CommBank HSI Index has shown a continued and broad based recovery in consumer spending since the end of lockdowns. While we have seen sharp increases in categories like transport and travel, there is still plenty of room for further growth.

“Australians have grown their savings to record levels during the pandemic. CBA estimates households have accumulated approximately $240 billion in excess savings, money that is ready to be spent as we head into Christmas and the signs are good for robust retail sales during this period,” said Mr Halmarick.

The CommBank HSI Index combines analysis of CBA payments data (the largest consumer spending data set in Australia covering 2½ million households and approximately 40 per cent of payment transactions), loan application information and Google Trends publicly available search activity to provide a unique and powerful monthly insights into current and future spending trends.


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