Australian household spending intentions return to pre-COVID levels for first time

The CommBank Household Spending Intentions (HSI) Index for November 2021, released today, is at its highest level since December 2019, recovering all the ground lost during the COVID-19 period.

The index – which provides an in-depth gauge of Australian consumer spending – rose 2.1 per cent during November to 110.3, driven by solid gains in spending on Transport (+21.5 per cent), Travel (+14.7 per cent), Retail (+9.6 per cent) and Household services (+9.4 per cent).

Transport spending has risen 52 per cent since the Delta lockdown low of August 2021. Fuel stations, taxis, tyre stores, car parking, auto repairs, towing and freight & trucking services have led the surge. Travel spending also rose by a significant 77 per cent over the same period, with the largest increases including hotels, motels and resorts, travel agents, airlines and tourist attractions.

Retail spending has risen 21 per cent since the low point in August, with the largest gains in department stores, clothing, furniture & household equipment, electronic stores, household appliances, jewellery & watches and pet shops. In a further positive note, it looks like end-of-year celebrations have driven increased spending on cosmetics, tailors & alterations and clothing rentals.

Commonwealth Bank of Australia’s (CBA) Chief Economist, Stephen Halmarick, said the data pointed to a continued recovery in the economy following extended periods of lockdown faced by many Australians.

“The CommBank HSI Index has shown a continued and broad based recovery in consumer spending since the end of lockdowns. While we have seen sharp increases in categories like transport and travel, there is still plenty of room for further growth.

“Australians have grown their savings to record levels during the pandemic. CBA estimates households have accumulated approximately $240 billion in excess savings, money that is ready to be spent as we head into Christmas and the signs are good for robust retail sales during this period,” said Mr Halmarick.

The CommBank HSI Index combines analysis of CBA payments data (the largest consumer spending data set in Australia covering 2½ million households and approximately 40 per cent of payment transactions), loan application information and Google Trends publicly available search activity to provide a unique and powerful monthly insights into current and future spending trends.

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The information contained in this media release is published solely for informational purposes and provides general market-related information, and is not intended to be an investment research report. This media release has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation (including the capacity to bear loss), knowledge, experience or needs. Before acting on the information in this media release, you should consider its appropriateness and, if necessary, seek appropriate professional or financial advice, including tax and legal advice. The data used in this media release is a combination of ‘CBA transaction data’ and Google Trends™ data. Google Trends is a trademark of Google LLC. The term ‘CBA transaction data’ refers to the proprietary data of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (“the Bank”) that is sourced from the Bank’s internal systems and may include, but is not 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 is accurate and that any opinions, conclusions or recommendations are reasonably held, or are made at the time of compilation of this media release. 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 media release is anonymous and aggregated before analysis, and is used and disclosed in accordance with the Bank’s Privacy Policy Statement.

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