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CommBank weekly card spending data broadly steady

CommBank weekly card spending data broadly steady

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

Total annual spending growth remains around 5%, although year-on-year in-store spending and spending on eating and drinking out firmed over the latest week.

  • CommBank household credit and debit card spend data for the week ending 11 September was up 5% from the same period a year ago, unchanged from the previous week, and broadly tracking sideways in all jurisdictions
  • Spending on eating and drinking out has firmed over the week but a large gap remains between spending on goods and spending on services
  • In-store spending is edging higher nationally and looks to have passed the trough in Victoria

In the week that ended Friday 11 September, spending on goods was up 17% from the same week last year, while spending on services was down 8%. We don’t expect services spending to recover until the shutdown measures in Victoria are withdrawn. Nevertheless, spending on eating and drinking out has firmed over the past week.

Total annual spending growth has been bouncing around 5% since late July.


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Spending by channel

Household spending on debit and credit cards in-store recovered slightly over the week. In-store card spending in New South Wales has gained momentum and is now up 8% on last year’s levels. Growth in online spending eased but remains elevated.

Spending by state

Annual spending growth across the states has been broadly tracking sideways for the past month.

Western Australia and Queensland continue to outperform New South Wales, as well as Victoria, which is still lagging behind. We expect the divergence in spending outcomes, particularly in-store, to continue in coming months as restrictions are due to be eased only very gradually in Victoria.

South Australia and Tasmania are now marginally outperforming the Northern Territory and ACT.

Spending by categories

Spending on recreation is down 11% from the same period last year. As this category includes accommodation and air travel, the soft result isn’t surprising. We expect strong spending in this category once state borders are reopened and international travel is allowed.

With the exception of Victoria, spending on medical care and health has been growing at a steady pace across the four largest states. However, spending in this category is still sharply down in Victoria as many medical services are only available for urgent cases.

Spending on transport is 13% down from the same period a year ago. This category is being affected by people working from home and avoiding public transport.

Household furnishings and equipment has so far been one of the components of consumer spending that has benefited most from changing spending habits due to COVID-19. Spending is up 28% from last year.

Other bright spots are food (up 19% from the same period a year ago) and alcohol (up 22%). There is a big split however between goods and services in these two categories. Spending on food goods, such as in supermarkets and grocery stores, is up 25% while spending on food services, like take-away, cafes and restaurants, is up a more modest 6%. The divergence is even greater between alcohol goods, such as in bottle shops, where spending is up 42% from last year while spending on alcohol services in venues such as pubs, clubs and hotels, is down 9%.

With more people working from home and less going out to eat and drink, spending on clothing and footwear is down 8% from last year’s levels and spending on personal care, including barbers and beauty shops, is down 10%.

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 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.

Source: Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Global Economic & Markets Research report “CBA Card Spend – ending 11 September 2020”, published 15 September 2020, author Nic Guesnon. Full Global Economic & Markets Research disclaimers can be found at


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