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CommBank card data shows stabilisation in household spending

CommBank card data shows stabilisation in household spending

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

Despite continued weakness in some spending categories in Victoria, spending on goods and services broadly tracked sideways in the week ending 24 July.

  • CommBank household credit and debit card spend data for the week ending 24 July shows that total spending on goods and services tracked roughly sideways
  • Spending in the week was 9.8% above the same period a year ago, compared with the 11.4% year-on-year growth in the week that ended 17 July
  • The national growth rate is hiding state-based and category-based trends, largely due to the lockdown in Victoria

Household spending on goods is up 23% from the same week a year ago, while household spending on services remains just 3% below the same period last year. 

Total household card spending on goods and services is 9.8% higher than a year ago. 

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Spending by channel

Stage three lockdowns in Melbourne have caused a drop in in-store spending in Victoria. NSW is also lagging WA and Queensland where there is no community transmission of the coronavirus.

Conversely, online spending in Victoria is rising sharply. This is partly driven by university fees which are paid online. The semester dates have moved due to the coronavirus.

Spending by state

Spending on clothing and footwear remains negative in Victoria, although it bounced slightly. Spending in NSW is underperforming WA and Queensland.

Personal care spending in Victoria has fallen sharply due to stage three lockdowns. It fell further in the latest week compared with a year earlier but remains above the trough in the first lockdown.

Likewise, spending on transport continued to fall in Victoria relative to the same period a year ago, but remains above the lowest levels of the first lockdown. With work from home orders being encouraged again in NSW, transport spending in that state is underperforming WA and Queensland.

The shutting of venues in Victoria has seen spending on alcohol fall in the state. Spending in NSW also softened in the latest week driven by alcohol services spending, but it remains positive in annual terms . Spending on alcohol in WA and Queensland continues to grow year-on-year.

Food spending in Victoria fell, driven by less eating out amid lockdown restrictions. Food spending remains steady in other states. Spending on food services in NSW fell slightly in the latest week.

There is some week-to-week volatility in spending in the smaller jurisdictions, but it remains roughly at the same level over recent weeks. The ACT is underperforming the Northern Territory, Tasmania and South Austraia.

Spending by category

Spending on food goods (primarily at supermarkets and grocery stores) remains high, up 26% from the same period last year. Spending on food services (cafes, restaurants, takeaway, etc) is 7% higher than the same time last year. Total spending on food goods and services is up 19% from the same period a year ago. 

Spending on alcohol services (drinking at hotels, pubs and clubs) is running 8% below last year’s levels while spending on alcohol goods (bottle shops) remains elevated, running 36% above the same period last year. Total spending on alcohol goods and services is 18% higher than the same time last year.

Household furnishings and equipment spending is easing slightly but remains strong at 48% above last year’s levels.

Spending on clothing and footwear is 11% above last year’s levels, while spending on personal care (hairdressers, barbers and beauty salons) is softening and is now just 4% higher than the same week a year ago. 

Spending on transport has also eased and is 9% below last year’s levels.

Spending on recreation (including accommodation, air travel and travel services) continued its gradual recovery to be down 5% from the same period a year ago.

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 the coronavirus continues to impact our lives 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.

Note: Weekly CBA household credit & debit card spend data is derived from transaction authorisations to give a near real-time view. This means that cancelled authorisations, refunds, reversals, etc will not be included.  Data has not been adjusted for effects of consumers substituting between cash and card payments.  CBA merchant facility spend data is derived from the Merchant Acquiring System which includes net sales from both CBA and Other Financial Institution (OFI) domestic and international cards

Source: Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Global Economic & Markets Research report “CBA Card Spend – ending 24 July 2020”, published 28 July 2020, author Belinda Allen. Full Global Economic & Markets Research disclaimers can be found at

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