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CommBank weekly card spending data shows annual growth is trending lower

CommBank weekly card spending data shows annual growth is trending lower

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

Household card spending was little changed over the week, but annual spending growth is trending lower.

  • CommBank household credit and debit card spend data for the week ending 21 August was up 5% from the same period a year ago. In the previous week, the year-on-year lift was 4%
  • Online spending has lifted to new highs, driven mainly by education spending in Victoria
  • National in-store spending is weak with New South Wales and Victoria placing a lid on total spending growth over recent weeks

Household spending on goods is 17% up from the same week a year ago. Household spending on services is 6% below the same period last year and we don’t expect it to fully recover until all restrictions have been lifted. The various restrictions across Victoria and New South Wales are weighing on services spending, particularly eating and drinking out.

Total household card spending on goods and services is 5% higher than a year ago. Annual spending growth is trending lower.

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Spending by channel

Online spending has lifted to new highs, driven mainly by education spending in Victoria. 

In-store spending remains lower over the year. The divergence between state in-store spending is material. State success in controlling the coronavirus will likely continue to dictate in-store spending patterns. In-store spending is strongest for Western Australia, Queensland and Tasmania, while remaining extremely weak in Victoria.

Spending by state

Green shoots are emerging in the mining states of Western Australia and Queensland where spending is running around 15% above the same period a year ago. Drinking out has been thriving in Western Australia over the past five weeks, with spending up around 40% on year-ago levels. 

Tasmania has shown strong spending relative to other states over recent weeks. Spending is running above pre-crisis levels in year-ago terms. 

Over the week, spending in Victoria lifted a little to be down 10% from a year ago, mainly driven by education spending. In the previous week spending was down by 15%. The various coronavirus restrictions have seen spending at pubs, bars and nightclubs remain very weak, and appears to have partially spilled over into New South Wales. Likewise, Victoria’s restrictions have hit the personal care sector there particularly badly. Annual growth in personal care spending has also softened in New South Wales but remains positive.

Education spending is also behind in the volatility in ACT-wide spending.

Spending in the Northern Territory and South Australia looks to have stabilised for now.

Spending by category


% change from same period a year ago

Food – total

Up 16%

Food goods – primarily supermarkets and grocery stores

Up 25%

Food services – cafes, restaurants, takeaway, etc


Alcohol – total

Up 13%

Alcohol goods – bottle shops

Up 31%

Alcohol services – drinking at hotels, pubs and clubs

Down 15%

Household furnishings & equipment

Up 29%

Clothing & footwear

Down 3%

Personal care – hairdressers, barbers, beauty salons, etc

Down 7%

Transport – including public transport

Down 18%

Recreation – including accommodation, air travel and travel services

Down 10%

Why is this information helpful?

CommBank 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 21 August 2020”, published 25 August 2020, author Nic Guesnon. Full Global Economic & Markets Research disclaimers can be found at 

Important information: This report provides general market-related information, and is not intended to be an investment research report. This report has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation (including the capacity to bear loss), knowledge, experience or needs. It is not to be construed as a solicitation or an offer to buy or sell any securities or financial instruments, or as a recommendation and/or investment advice. Before acting on the information in this report, you should consider the appropriateness and suitability of the information to your own objectives, financial situation and needs, and, if necessary seek appropriate professional or financial advice, including tax and legal advice. Commonwealth Bank of Australia (the “Bank”) believes that the information in this report is correct and any opinions, conclusions or recommendations are reasonably held or made, based on the information available at the time of its compilation, but no representation or warranty, either expressed or implied, is made or provided as to accuracy, reliability or completeness of any statement made in this report. Any opinions, conclusions or recommendations set forth in this report are subject to change without notice and may differ or be contrary to the opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed elsewhere by the Bank or any member of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia group of companies. Any valuations, projections and forecasts contained are based on a number of assumptions and estimates and are subject to contingencies and uncertainties. Different assumptions and estimates could result in materially different results. The Bank does not represent or warrant that any of these valuations, projections or forecasts, or any of the underlying assumptions or estimates, will be met. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance. Where ‘CBA data’ is cited, this refers to the Bank proprietary data that is sourced from the Bank’s internal systems and may include, but not be 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 used is accurate and any opinions, conclusions or recommendations are reasonably held or made as at the time of compilation of this report. 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 report is anonymised and aggregated before analysis and is used, and disclosed, in accordance with the Group’s Privacy Policy Statement.