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CommBank card spending data shows pause in recovery

CommBank card spending data shows pause in recovery

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

CommBank’s household card spend data suggests the gentle upswing in spending has paused and is now tracking broadly sideways.

  • CommBank household credit and debit card spend data for the week ending 26 June shows that spending on both goods and services softened over the past week.
  • Fears over rising case numbers in Victoria and growing media reports about the end of government support measures in September could be denting confidence.
  • A tightening of restrictions in Victoria saw spending growth continue to lag other states.

Spending on goods eased somewhat but remains elevated (up 19% from last year’s levels) while spending on services ticked down slightly to be 10% below the same period last year. 

Combined, total spending on goods and services is up 4.5% from the same week a year ago, with both in-store spend and online spend taking a breather.

Spending by category

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Spending on food goods (primarily at supermarkets and grocery stores) ticked up last week as reports of some panic buying emerged amid rising COVID-19 case numbers in Victoria. Spending is up 28% from the same period last year. Spending on food services (cafes, restaurants, etc) also edged up as restrictions on eating out ease and is 10% higher than the same time last year. Total spending on food goods and services is up 22% from the same period a year ago.

Spending on alcohol services (drinking at hotels, pubs and clubs) is running 15% below last year’s levels but the trend continues to improve. Spending on alcohol goods (bottle shops) remains very strong, up 37% above the same period last year, but is gradually softening. Total spending on alcohol goods and services is 17% higher than the same time last year.

Household furnishings and equipment spending has finally started to moderate but is still strong at 25% above the same period last year.

Spending on both clothing and footwear and personal care are also easing back after a sharp improvement over May and in early June. Spending in hairdressers, barbers and beauty salons is 7% above last year’s levels, while spending on apparel is up 3% from the same time last year, resuming pre-COVID spending patterns.

The spending pulse on transport and recreation has faltered, with both remaining lower in annual terms. Spending on transport is 10% lower than last year’s levels as people continue to work from home and avoid public transport, while spending on recreation such as accommodation, air travel and travel services, is down 13% from the same period a year ago.

Growth in CommBank in-store household card spending continues to track higher than in-store spending on CommBank merchant facilities. This reflects the impact that a lack of foreign tourists is having on overall expenditure.

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.

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 26 June 2020”, published 30 June 2020, author Belinda Allen. Full Global Economic & Markets Research disclaimers can be found at www.commbankresearch.com.au.

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