The CommBank Household Spending Intentions (HSI) Index rose by 1.9 per cent in November, although the index’s annual rate of increase slowed significantly from October as interest rate hikes and higher prices dampen consumer activity with a further spending slowdown is expected.

November’s rise in the HSI index — which combines Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) payments data and Google Trends search information — was led by increased spending on transport, retail and health & fitness.

Retail spending jumped 6.4 per cent in the month, with Black Friday sales driving an 8 per cent increase in the last week of November — a similar result to last year, but softer than in 2020 and 2019 — highlighting a recent trend of consumers bringing forward their Christmas spending. However with seasonal adjustment, retail spending was lower than in November last year.

A strong increase in transport saw a 6.5 per cent increase in November, led by higher petrol prices and spending at services stations. This was offset by falls in entertainment, motor vehicles and travel — which saw a relatively large decline of 6.6 per cent in November.

CommBank Chief Economist Stephen Halmarick said November’s CommBank HSI Index shows households are feeling the impact of rising interest rates, higher prices and bills, with the HSI index’s annual rate of increase halving to 3.2 per cent from 7.5 per cent in October and down from a peak of 15.2 per cent in August.

“The CommBank HSI Index’s narrow rise in November could be something of a ‘last hurrah’, with underlying spending trends showing household are hesitant to spend too much as interest rate hikes flow through in increased bills and higher prices.

“This year’s Black Friday results continue to show a clear shift in recent years for shoppers to bring forward their Christmas spending and make the most of the sales on offer.

“With the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) having increased interest rates by 300bp in 2022, household budgets will become more constrained into the new year, putting further downward pressure on spending,” said Mr Halmarick.

Rochelle Eldridge, Commbank’s General Manager, Shopping, said CommBank consumer research shows customers are tightening their belts and finding ways to reduce their spending through the busy holiday period.

“Our latest consumer research shows that 61 per cent of Australians are planning to spend less on Christmas this year. Customers are looking for ways to save money and ease pressures with the rising cost of living.

“73 per cent say they have cut back on discretionary ‘nice to have’ items, while 69 per cent are looking for ways to make money go further including preparing ahead and shopping on sale,” said Ms Eldridge.

Following last week’s 25bp increase in interest rates 3.10 per cent by the RBA, CBA’s Economics team is forecasting one further 25bp rate hike in February 2023 to a peak of 3.35 per cent.

The full CommBank HSI Index report for November can be accessed below. The next report covering Christmas and New Year spending will be released on 14 February 2023.

Household Spending Intentions Index — November 2022


The CommBank HSI Index combines analysis of CBA payments data (Australia’s largest consumer spending data set covering approximately 40 per cent of payment transactions), loan application information and Google Trends publicly available search activity data. To access this powerful insight into spending trends, visit:

About consumer research: Fieldwork was conducted by House of Brand Group between 3/11/2022 and 8/11/2022, amongst a sample of n=1,035 nationally representative respondents with quotas set on age, gender and location.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this media release is published solely for informational purposes and provides general market-related information, and is not intended to be an investment research report. This media release has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation (including the capacity to bear loss), knowledge, experience or needs. Before acting on the information in this media release, you should consider its appropriateness and, if necessary, seek appropriate professional or financial advice, including tax and legal advice. The data used in this media release is a combination of ‘CBA transaction data’ and Google Trends™ data. Google Trends is a trademark of Google LLC. The term ‘CBA transaction data’ refers to the proprietary data of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia ("the Bank") that is sourced from the Bank’s internal systems and may include, but is not limited to, credit card transaction data, merchant facility transaction data and applications for credit. The Bank takes reasonable steps to ensure that its proprietary data is accurate and that any opinions, conclusions or recommendations are reasonably held, or are made at the time of compilation of this media release. As the statistics take into account only the Bank’s data, no representation or warranty is made as to the completeness of the data and it may not reflect all trends in the market. All customer data used or represented in this media release is anonymous and aggregated before analysis, and is used and disclosed in accordance with the Bank’s Privacy Policy Statement. Full disclosures and disclaimers.

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