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CommBank card data shows household spending eases

CommBank card data shows household spending eases

The following article has been developed by the Global Economic & Markets Research team.

Growth in spending on both goods and services fell over the week with the reimposition of restrictions in some parts of Victoria having an impact.

  • CommBank household credit and debit card spend data for the week ending 10 July shows that spending on goods and services eased from the prior week
  • The data indicates that household card spending was 7.2% higher than the same week a year ago
  • This week we examine how spending in Victoria compares with national spending across a range of categories

Combined, total spending on goods and services is up 7.2% from the same week a year ago, with both moderating from the prior week. Online spending fell more than in-store spending after a strong lift in the previous week.

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Spending by state

Spending momentum in Victoria has turned negative as restrictions were reimposed. Spending growth also eased in all other states and territories over the week, except for the Northern Territory. Rising COVID-19 cases in Victoria may be dampening sentiment in the rest of the country. 

Spending by category

Spending on food goods (primarily at supermarkets and grocery stores) remains high, up 29% from the same period last year. Spending on food services (cafes, restaurants, takeaway, etc) is 11% higher than the same time last year. Total spending on food goods and services is up 22% from the same period a year ago. 

Food is one category where spending is growing at a similar pace across all jurisdictions. Cafes and restaurant are back to takeaway only in Victoria.

Spending on alcohol services (drinking at hotels, pubs and clubs) is running 3% below last year’s levels but remains on an improving trend. Spending on alcohol goods (bottle shops) remains elevated, running 39% above the same period last year. Total spending on alcohol goods and services is 22% higher than the same time last year.

Household furnishings and equipment spending has moderated but nevertheless is 44% above the same period last year.

Spending on clothing and footwear is 10% above last year’s levels, while spending on personal care (hairdressers, barbers and beauty salons) is 9% higher than the same week a year ago. 

In both these categories, spending growth in Victoria is lagging behind the national average. Many businesses providing beauty and personal care services are required to close again in this state.

Spending on transport has turned down to be 8% below last year’s levels while spending on recreation (including accommodation, air travel and travel services) continued its gradual recovery to be down 7% from the same period a year ago. Again, spending growth in Victoria is lagging behind the national average given many of its entertainment venues have been forced to close again and the tighter restrictions and lockdowns impact on transport spend.

Spending on education remains very soft, running more than 50% below the same period last year across the country and 70% below the corresponding week a year ago in Victoria. The decision to delay the start of term 3 there may mean that some households have delayed paying fees. 

Why is this information helpful?

CommBank’s weekly credit and debit card spend data gives you an up-to-date picture of what people are spending their money on and how this is changing as COVID-19 continues to impact our world and the economy. 

We will be providing further updates to help you understand the impact that the virus is having on businesses and the broader economy.

Source: Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Global Economic & Markets Research report “CBA Card Spend – ending 10 July 2020”, published 14 July 2020, author Kristina Clifton. Full Global Economic & Markets Research disclaimers can be found at


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