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CommBank weekly card spending data shows small lift but trend easing

CommBank weekly card spending data shows small lift but trend easing

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

Spending lifted a little from the previous week but underlying the week-to-week volatility there looks to be an easing in the annual growth rate in trend terms.

  • CommBank household credit and debit card spend data for the week ending 7 August lifted a little to be 8% higher than a year ago. In the previous week, the year-on-year lift was 3%
  • Online spending remains elevated, up 21% from a year ago
  • Annual growth in spending in Victoria is lagging, although spending on food and alcohol to be consumed at home has surged. Spending in the ACT is also weak

Household spending on goods remains strong, up 23% from the same week a year ago, while household spending on services is 5% below the same period last year. We don’t expect services spending to fully recover until all restrictions have been lifted.

Total household card spending on goods and services is 8% higher than a year ago. Spending growth is volatile week to week. However, the trend shows that annual spending growth has eased a little in recent weeks.

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Spending by channel

Online spending spiked higher in the week that ended 7 August to be 21% higher than the same period a year ago. As expected, with Victoria entering Stage 4 lockdown on 2 August, in-store spending remains soft. .

Spending by state

State trends are currently most interesting because restrictions vary across jurisdictions. The full effect of stage 4 restrictions in Victoria won’t be seen in spending until next week’s data as retail stores were allowed to operate until 6 August. As well as spending on food and alcohol to be consumed at home surging, spending on household furnishings and equipment is also very strong. People may have made last minute trips to hardware stores for items needed for home DIY projects and working from home requirements.

However, spending in many other categories is lagging in Victoria, including clothing and footwear, personal care, recreation and transport. Transport spending is also down over the year in NSW. Other data shows mobility around Sydney, and particularly Melbourne, is still well down from normal levels.

Spending is very strong in Western Australia, with spending growth stronger than the national average across all categories.

Spending continues to weaken in the ACT as a steep drop in education spending weighs on overall spending.

Spending by category

Category % change from same period a year ago
Food - total Up 22%
Food goods - primarily supermarkets and grocery stores Up 32%
Food services - cafes, restaurants, takeaway, etc Up 2%
Alcohol - total Up 19%
Alcohol goods - bottle shops Up 41%
Alcohol services - drinking at hotels, pubs and clubs Down 14%
Household furnishings & equipment Up 46%
Clothing & footwear Down 5%
Personal care - hairdressers, barbers, beauty salons, etc Up 2%
Transport - including public transport Down 13%
Recreation - including accomodation, air travel and travel services Down 7%

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 7 August 2020”, published 11 August 2020, author Kristina Clifton. Full Global Economic & Markets Research disclaimers can be found at 



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