14 Apr 2020
Total ANZ-observed retail spending1 has been below last year’s spending since Easter, for the first time since the Australian bushfire season.
During the week ending 17 April, total ANZ observed retail spending was down 8 per cent year-on-year.
" Some households are working through their stockpiles as the risk of COVID-19 quarantines abate, while others are going back to more normal levels of spending on essentials.”
ANZ spending at supermarkets (15 per cent year-on-year for week ending 17 April) is softening the decline but growth in other food retailers and pharmacies has disappeared.
This suggests some households are working through their stockpiles as the risk of COVID-19 quarantines abate. Others are going back to more normal levels of spending on essentials while tightening discretionary spend.
Most ANZ-observed spending in household-related categories is also back to normal level of growths.
Social spend continues to fall. Aussies now spend less than half of what they did last year on dining and takeaway (down 51 per cent year-on-year). Fashion spend has also dipped further.
Entertainment spending seems to be limited to stable spending on streaming. People are likely using this more but, due to the nature of subscriptions, that doesn’t mean they are necessarily spending much more.
Australians are still driving around a bit but nowhere that requires a parking fee. ANZ-observed car parking spending is down 80 per cent while petrol is only down 40 per cent (driving has likely dropped less than 40 per cent, since petrol is cheap at the moment).
A return to growth of ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ products (which fell year-on-year from week ending 22 February to the week ending 5 April) is likely to be more about credit constraints than an increase of demand for the “nice to haves”.
Brace for worse - this is just the beginning of the spending decline.
Adelaide Timbrell is Economist and David Plank is Head of Australian Economics at ANZ
1. ANZ-observed spending is:
Proprietary data sourced from bank’s internal systems and includes, but is not limited to, card transaction data and merchant facility transaction data.
Desensitised, de-identified and aggregated.
Not scaled up to represent total household spending in Australia.
The views and opinions expressed in this communication are those of the author and may not necessarily state or reflect those of ANZ.
14 Apr 2020
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